Family members of mishap victim Basant Sharma at Kusunda dump in Dhanbad on Wednesday. (Gautam Dey)
Two coal workers died on duty in separate but horrific mishaps in Dhanbad on Wednesday, raising the issue of safety regulations across a spectrum of activities in the sector.
Around 4am, a speeding trailer hit a railway siding clerk of a private firm that the BCCL outsourced, GTS Transport Company, when he was supervising coal loading on coaches at the Kusunda dump.
As the trailer’s driver fled, the body of 42-year-old Basant Sharma got buried inside a coal stack. After daybreak, workers who spotted his limbs sticking out informed his family and company officials.
Police recovered the body and sent it for post-mortem.
Soon, hundreds of workers stopped coal transport at Kusunda, demanding immediate compensation to Sharma’s widow Malti Devi. Dhanbad deputy mayor Niraj Singh, who reached the site at 11am, pulled up the company for its alleged lack of safety measures.
Faced with mounting pressure, representatives of GTS and BCCL held a trilateral meeting with protesters, mediated by Kenduadih police station officer-in-charge R.K. Yadav. After talks, GST agreed to award Rs 6.10 lakh to Sharma’s widow.
Work resumed after noon.
Around 1pm, another fatal accident took place at Shivam Coke Factory in Saraidhela police station area, when the free end of the sari of a labourer loading coal on a rolling conveyor belt got stuck in the machinery. Though Jamuni Devi’s colleagues switched off power supply promptly and the belt stopped rolling, the damage was done. Sari stuck in conveyor belt, the 35-year-old, who was rammed against the wall closest to the machine, received fatal head injuries.
Factory owner Jitendra Kapoor informed the police, who sent the body for autopsy.
Workers led by former Jharia MLA Abo Devi demanded compensation for Jamuni’s family. After talks in the presence of Saraidhela police, Kapoor agreed to pay Rs 2.5 lakh to the deceased’s husband Nilu Ravidas. Saraidhela OC Renu Gupta said they would probe into the accident.