Two more bodies were dug out from coal overburden (OB) dump of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) in Sundargarh district on Sunday taking the toll to 10. As search operation continued, authorities did not rule out recovery of more bodies from the killer dump yard.
District Collector Bhupinder Singh Punia said till Saturday, nine mutilated bodies were recovered and all were identified.
Soon after the incident, the State Government ordered an inquiry by the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (Northern Range) even as MCL sources hinted that a high-level committee of the Coal India Ltd (CIL) would conduct an internal probe.
Director-General of Mines Safety (DGMS) Satish Sharma from Chaibasa in Jharkhand took stock of the situation. The MCL spokesperson, Dikken Mehera, said the internal probe by the CIL would review safety measures to prevent recurrence of such incident. He said of the nine identified bodies, four were women. Seven belonged to Balinga village while one each hailed from Bhasma and Rengali.
Meanwhile, BJP general secretary and Rajya Sabha member Dharmendra Pradhan, who visited the spot on Sunday, attributed the incident to lax safety measure. He said the mishap was avoidable. Pradhan called for exemplary punishment to those responsible for the incident and demanded a compensation of `25 lakh each to the bereaved families. The issue would be raised in Parliament, he said. The pending issues of compensation, rehabilitation and employment for mining affected villagers should be sorted out soon, he added.
Earlier, Sundargarh MP Hemanand Biswal (Cong) and MLA Yogesh Singh (Cong) visited the spot. RTI activist Pradeep Mohanty claimed the MCL has outsourced job to extract 248 lakh cubic metres of OB to a firm which had dangerously dumped it leading to the mishap.
The landslide occurred on Saturday at the coal OB dump yard along the Kulda open cast mines in Hemgir block of the district. The administration fears that between 15 and 20 persons are trapped.