Assam: Three coal miners trapped inside illegal rat-hole mine, rescue operations on

According to the reports, two of the missing persons are from Meghalaya while the other is from Nepal and has been identified as Dawa Sherpa.
Image of coal mine used for representational purposes only
Image of coal mine used for representational purposes only (File Photo | AP)

GUWAHATI: Three coal miners were trapped and feared dead after a landslide had hit an illegal rat-hole mine in Assam’s Tinsukia district bordering Arunachal Pradesh.

The incident occurred past Saturday midnight at a mining site between Bargolai and Namdang in the Patkai hills.

“We received a report that three persons are missing. We are taking necessary actions,” Tinsukia District Magistrate Swapneel Paul told The New Indian Express.

Rescue operations are underway.

According to the reports, two of the missing persons are from Meghalaya while the other is from Nepal and has been identified as Dawa Sherpa.

Altogether four miners were at the site when the mishap occurred. While three were extracting coal from a narrow tunnel by following the method of rat-hole mining, another was transporting the extracted coal. The three in the tunnel got trapped in the landslide.

A local told reports at the site that the incident had occurred right after Saturday midnight while confirming that three persons were trapped.

The Ledo-Margherita region of Tinsukia bordering Arunachal’s Changlang district is a coal belt.

Landslides and flooding in the coal mines of the Northeast are common. There have been incidents of coal miners losing their lives due to asphyxiation after release of toxic gases.

In January this year, six workers were charred to death and four others injured at a coal mine in Nagaland’s Wokha district.

The National Green Tribunal had banned rat-hole mining in 2014. However, coal is still extracted by following this dangerous method in the Northeast.

Most coal mines are located in Meghalaya and the state recorded numerous incidents of coal mine tragedies. High daily wage, which could go up to Rs 2,000 draw the poor to the mines.

The worst coal mine tragedy in the Northeast had occurred in December 2018. Fifteen miners, most of them from Assam, had died when an illegal rat-hole mine at Ksan in Meghalaya was flooded by the water of a nearby river.

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