The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Visit salt on tragedy wound

Dhanbad, March 17: Paying a whirlwind visit to Nayadih Kusunda area VI, chief minister Madhu Koda today squarely blamed the Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL) authorities for the death of 10 persons in a land subsidence.

Smoke gushing from craters developed today due to a fresh subsidence greeted Koda on the road leading to the accident site, where he reached around 4.45 pm. Visibly in a hurry, the chief minister spent less than 10 minutes in the area.

The short visit of the chief minister shocked hundreds of people waiting for him since 2 pm. Majority of them were from underground fire affected Kusunda and nearby Kustore.

Koda had a short and hurried look at the subsidence site guided by district administration officials.

Koda talked to Suresh Bhuiyan, the dumper driver of BCCL who lost his three grandchildren in the subsidence, for a while and quickly announced a compensation of Rs 1 lakh to the kin of each of the 10 deceased.

Blaming the coal company for the tragedy, Koda said: “BCCL should have had arranged a safe place for the dwellers in the underground fire-hit areas.”

The state government and the coal company should chalk out a coordinated plan for the rehabilitation of the people living in the underground fire-prone zones, he quipped before leaving without giving a hearing to local residents.

Leaders of the district units of political parties and colliery workers’ unions also failed to hand their representations regarding the ordeal of workers in the fire-affected areas to the chief minister.

On Friday, a day after the incident, former chief minister Arjun Munda had visited the spot. He had also squarely blamed the BCCL for the incident.

Munda had alleged that the evacuation notice served on the “illegal” occupants to evacuate from the land subsidence-prone was a sham, as the office of the company itself had not been shifted from the place.

The former chief minister had expressed dissatisfaction over the relief work carried out so far by the district administration and the BCCL authorities, too.

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