A 35-year-old woman, her daughter and two nieces were injured when a slag dump they were digging caved in at Chandil’s Kadamdih village in Seraikela-Kharsawan district on Monday afternoon.
The injured were rushed to a private nursing home at Chandil. Shakuntala Nayak and her nieces — Pulki (18) and Kokil (12) — were referred to MGM Medical College and Hospital, while daughter Babita, also 18-year-old, was released after first aid.
Hospital sources said Kokil, who has sustained internal head injuries, was serious. Shakuntala and Pulki are said to be out of danger.
The victims hail from Ruchap village and were digging for iron chips at the dump, located at Kadamdih village behind a bypass road to Chandil. As they dug deeper, the dump caved in.
Babita, who was fortunate to escape with minor injuries, started shouting for help. Her screams drew the attention of local residents, who rushed them to the nursing home.
Kadamdih resident Dhiraj Mahto said the mishap spot was earlier a shallow piece of land.
About six months ago, slag was dumped to level the ground for an upcoming sponge-iron factory. Since then, the prospect of finding iron chips in the slag had lured the poor from nearby villages.
“The recent spell of rains had left the slag dump wet. The victims, who were on a spree to procure iron chips, dug deep and the dump collapsed,” said Mahto.
He added that poor villagers tended to risk their lives by scourging for iron chips at the dump.
“There is no one from the administration to keep a watch on these dumps,” Mahto rued.
Officer-in-charge of Chandil police station Pervez Alam confirmed the mishap, but added they were yet to take the victims’ statements.
“We will go to the hospital to see if the victims are in a position to speak. Accordingly, we will take necessary action,” Alam told The Telegraph.