ANGUL: A Huge patch of land in Bhubaneswari Coalmine at Talcher gave way leading to panic among the coal workers. A road in the mine, which was used for coal transport, slid more than 30 metres deep. However, no one was injured in the mishap that occurred on Tuesday night.
While workers’ union blamed it on unsafe mining by the coal authorities, the management attributed it to unavailability of land. On Tuesday night, panic gripped the workers after they heard a loud sound and found that a large part of a road in Bhubaneswari mine had caved in. They alerted the authorities concerned who rushed to spot and fenced it to prevent movement of traffic. On Thursday, coal was being transported by another route, colliery sources said.
The mines are getting deeper and steeper as land is not available for coal mining. “Such kind of slides are common,” sources added.
INTUC Trade Union general secretary Souvagya Pradhan termed it as unsafe mining. “Not only Bhubaneswari, most of the mines are vertical (being dug deeper) in the absence of land. Such type of mishaps should be prevented in Talcher Coalfields as well as MCL as a whole”, Pradhan cautioned.
Meanwhile, officials of Department of Mines Safety of the Central Government are yet to visit the spot. However, Director of Mines Safety, Bhubaneswar, R Subramanium said nothing can be said about the cause unless a team inspects the site.
“A team will be sent to the spot to make an assessment and submit a report,” he added.
In fact, most of the mines such as Jagannath, Kaniha, Lingaraj, Balram and Ananta are becoming vertical day by day. The reason being that authorities go on extracting coal by deepening the mine which is perilous.
Meanwhile, MCL authorities have a tough job at hand. While they have a huge target set by the Ministry of Coal to be met for this fiscal, absence of land, mostly in major coalfields of Talcher, has left them worried.
Several meetings at the Chief Secretary level have failed to change the situation.
Another meeting is scheduled on September 19 to discuss the coal issue. MCL, being the leading company of coal major CIL, has been asked to produce 167 million tonne (mt) of coal this fiscal against the last year’s output of 138 mt.