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Man jumps to death in coal pit

A 52-year-old employee of Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL) jumped to his death into a 250-feet pit from where coal is extracted at his workplace at Putki, about 12km from Dhanbad town, on Wednesday morning.

Suspecting suicide, police said that Ashwini Kumar Sinha had been apparently depressed over the past few days. However, no suicide was found from either Sinha’s office or home at BCCL’s co-operative colony.

According to police sources, Sinha used to work as a fitter at the colliery site at Putki in south Balihari.

He had taken leave since May 22 and had gone along with his family members to attend a social function at a relative’s place in Bihar.

The family returned on Tuesday evening.

On Wednesday morning, Sinha woke up around 5.30am and after fetching milk and keeping it at his house, he went to his office, which is about a kilometre away from his home, on his scooter to find out his duty hours.

He was told that he had been put on night shift.

“But instead of returning home, he went to the chanak — as the coal pit is called in local parlance — and jumped in, dying on the spot. The incident occurred around 6am. A few workers present at the site raised an alarm and Putki police were informed. Eventually, Sinha’s body was lifted out of the pit and his family informed,” Dhanbad superintendent of police Hemant Toppo said.

The body has been sent for post-mortem, he added.

Asked about the reasons that could have prompted the BCCL employee to end his life in such a painful way, Toppo said that though a thorough probe would shed light on the truth, primary investigations revealed that Sinha was upset since his return from Bihar. “From what we have gathered, he was depressed over some issue.”

Neighbours agreed.

“Sinha was a cheerful person. But he was glum since he returned last evening. He didn’t interact with us as he usually did,” said a local resident.

“It’s an unfortunate incident. We are clueless as to what drove him to death,” said his colleague R.K. Mahto.

Sinha’s wife was inconsolable and fainted a number of times on Wednesday.

His son is studying engineering (first year) in Agra, while daughter is a Class IX student of DAV.