Underground fire once again rendered as many as 19 families homeless at Lilton Angarpathra locality in Katras police station area, about 20km from the Dhanbad district headquarters, in the wee hours of Tuesday.
The residents were sleeping when suddenly cracks developed on the ground, spewing gases, around 1.30am. The area is located about 80 metres from Dhanbad-Chandrapura railway line.
“I woke up around 1.30am on hearing a loud cracking sound and saw a crater on the floor. I rushed to the other room where my other family members were sleeping and alerted them. We all ran out of the house,” said Durga Sao, one of the affected persons.
“We somehow spent the night under the open sky despite the biting cold,” said another resident, Triloki Sao.
Later, senior officials of area 4 of BCCL and Jharia Rehabilitation and Development Authority (JRDA) and local leaders, including Tundi MLA Mathura Prasad Mahto, visited the site and took stock of the situation.
The affected families have been offered temporary shelter at the nearby Gajlitand-based community centre of BCCL till JRDA provides permanent houses to them.
“The area had been declared dangerous due to the raging underground fire more than three years ago. Several times, we served notices to the residents — the last one was sent two months ago — to vacate the area. But they did not listen,” said media general manager of area 4, BCCL, Subir Das.
The company management has offered land near Katras Majar to the affected to build permanent homes.