People gather at Victory colliery of BCCL in Dhanbad on Thursday. Picture by Gautam Dey
A 57-year-old miner died in a mishap at a BCCL colliery in Dhanbad on Thursday, prompting co-workers to sit on a dharna with his body for hours and point finger at the management for running faulty machinery that they blamed for the death.
Baldev Prasad Bhuian, a trammer — an assistant miner who hauls mined coal onto conveyor belts that carry the mined mineral from the underground to the surface — died around 6.45am at Victory colliery of BCCL in Katras.
“As the axle of the conveyor belt was not working properly, it was causing jerks. One such violent jerk thrust Baldev into the surrounding fences as he was loading coals. He received serious head injuries and was killed on the spot,” said a co-worker, who did not want to be named.
The management neither repaired nor replaced the malfunctioning axle despite assurances to miners following repeated complaints, he added.
Agitated workers, who stopped production and dispatch and protested at the main gate of the colliery, calmed down around noon only after senior officials heard their pleas and promised monetary compensation and job for the dependants of the deceased.
BCCL project officer of Bastacola area Nasim Alam and personnel manager A.K. Dubey arrived at the spot around 10.30am and talked to the protesters. Alam told them that the management would offer a job to the son of the deceased and pay Rs 5 lakh to the family as accident benefit and Rs 20,000 for his cremation.
The officials paid the compensation to the victim’s wife, Lakhia Devi, and also completed paperwork to recruit his eldest son. The victim’s family carried his body at noon to perform the last rites.
Nagendra Yadav, Bastacola area secretary of Bihar Colliery Kamgar Union who led the protests with other trade unionists, including Mahesh Paswan of Janta Mazdoor Sangh, told The Telegraph: “Negligence on the part of management is certainly to blame for the accident.”
Alam, however, refuted charges of negligence.
He said the company had immediately ordered an enquiry into the incident, adding that it would reveal what led to the accident. He promised to take action against anyone found guilty, if necessary.