The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Order for inquiry into illegal mining

Burdwan, Sept. 13: The chief judicial magistrate of the district court today asked police to institute a thorough investigation into the alleged involvement of six senior officers of Eastern Coalfield Limited in illegal mining by local mafia in the closed Shamla colliery.

The court also asked the officer in-charge of Pandaveswar police station to register a criminal case against them. The directives came following a petition by the Citu-affiliated Colliery Mazdoor Sabha.

The union in its petition alleged that the six officials did not take any action to stop the illegal mining despite repeated reminders. The officers’ indifference towards the lifting of coal from the closed colliery proved their collusion with the private operators, the Mazdoor Sabha alleged.

The Mines and Mineral Development Regulation Act, 1957, says, when an underground coalmine is closed, the entire area should be sealed and fenced off.

In case of an open cast mine, the area should be filled up with sand. The union alleged that the officers flouted the safety regulations in Shamla colliery. And illegal coal trade thrived.

Recently, district superintendent of police B.N. Ramesh claimed that illegal mining had stopped in the district following police action. But the court order has caught the police on the wrong foot.

Officer in-charge of Pandveswar Ajoy Shankar Chatterjee said he had asked his superiors about the next course of action.

The police superintendent said: “We are examining the legal implications of the court order. The police will take necessary action after considering different aspects of the alleged illegal mining at Shamla colliery.”

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