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18 hydro workers killed in Himalaya quake: company
by Staff Writers
Mangan, India (AFP) Sept 21, 2011

A company building a hydroelectric plant in north-east India said Wednesday that 18 of its employees were killed in separate incidents in the weekend's deadly Himalayan earthquake.

S. Krishnamurthy, the boss of the Teesta III power project in the state of Sikkim, said most of its 4,000 workers were on holiday when the 6.9-magnitude quake struck on Sunday, with only one -- an engineer -- killed on site.

But another four employees were killed at home when their homes collapsed, and 13 people perished in landslides on the surrounding mountain roads, many of which have collapsed or are blocked by debris.

"We have carried out a thorough inspection of the area where the project is based. We have a responsibility to our workers," he told AFP.

A total of seventeen were injured, some of them critically, and they have been taken to hospital, he added.

The death toll from the weekend earthquake neared 100 on Wednesday as officials warned it could rise significantly and helicopters airlifted the injured and stranded.

The Teesta III project in north Sikkim is India's largest hydroelectric project to date and is being jointly built by the private Indian group Athena Energy Ventures and the Indian state.

The 1200-megawatt project had been scheduled to be completed in January 2012.

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