The toll in the coal over burden dump mishap at Kulda of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) rose to 11 as one more body was recovered on Thursday afternoon. The body of a missing woman Surekha Naik was dug out from the debris during search operation. However, search on Friday ended unsuccessfully with bodies of two more villagers still missing.
Coinciding the recovery of Surekha, angry villagers confronted a team of local MCL officials on their way to the mishap site. They were heckled and manhandled and forced to return.
Meanwhile, a technical team from the Union Coal ministry led by Joint Secretary SK Singh visited the spot on Thursday. Collector Bhupinder Singh Punia and SP Sanjeev Arora accompanied them. Punia said the team inspected the mishap site and took stock of the situation. Meanwhile, agitation by Congress MLA of Sundargarh Yogesh Singh in front of the project office of the Kulda open cast project of MCL completed one week on Friday. The MLA insisted that the agitation would continue till the demands for more compensation and employment to the bereaved families, arrest of errant MCL officials and settlement of pending cases of families affected by the mining project are fulfilled.
Owing to the stand-off between the villagers and MCL officials, coal production at the Kulda and Basundhara open cast mines of MCL in Hemgir block of the district along with transportation remained paralysed. The mishap took place on Saturday when a portion of the over burden dump caved in and trapped the villagers who were digging coal remnants from the base.