TALCHER: Land subsidence in a house allegedly due to underground mining last night snowballed into a major issue as locals shut down the coal town of Talcher in protest on Thursday.Normal life was paralysed as irate locals blocked NH-53 at the crucial Bypass Chowk here. Educational institutions and Government offices remained closed due to the bandh. However, all the coal mines functioned normally. Sources said though Lingaraj coal mine was shut down by protesters for some time, police reached the spot and reopened it.
BJP leader and one of the agitators Jajati Pattnaik said, “The indefinite strike will continue till the district Collector, MCL chief and authorities of the Director General of Mines Safety come here. We want a permanent solution to the incidents of land subsidence which are occurring frequently due to underground mining.”
Talcher Sub-Collector Paresh Nayak said efforts are on to solve the issue. “I offered talks with the agitators after the Collector asked us to convene a high level meeting within some days. However, they rejected it and demanded that all the stakeholders should come to protest site for discussion. We trying to break the deadlock and solve the problem,” Nayak said.
The land subsidence occurred in the house of one Shantilata Bai on Wednesday night. Family members had first noticed a crack on Monday. But later, the portion caved in creating a four feet wide hole at the place.
In the evening, a team of experts from MCL and Coal Mining Planning and Development Institute (CMPDI) along with general manager of Talcher area B Kumar examined the spot. The team ruled out underground mining as the reason behind the land subsidence.
Land subsidence is not a new phenomenon in Talcher town. There have been instances of subsidence at Sai Mandir, Handidhua and Nabamishra colony in the past. However, this was the first time when such an occurrence was witnessed in a residential house.