The Telegraph
Sunday , January 1 , 2017

One's grief, another's relief

Soni Devi and Rinku Tuddu (right) at Lahariya Tola in Godda on Saturday. Picture by Gautam Dey

Godda, Dec. 31: The mine mishap at ECL's Lalmatia colliery in Godda shattered Soni Devi's world. Destiny, however, was not that cruel to her friend Rinku Tuddu (22).

While Rinku's husband Suresh Hansda (23), hailing from Bihar, escaped the cave-in miraculously, 24-year-old Soni's better half was not that lucky.

Recalling the fateful day, Rinku said that they got the news about the mishap at 7.30pm. "Both our husbands had gone to the mine to work. We were extremely tensed. I constantly looked at the door expecting my husband to come. He showed up at 1.30am and I heaved a sigh of relief," she added.

But shock greeted Soni. Her husband Kuleshwar (27), alias Ajay Kumar, a native of Hazaribagh, was among the dead.

"My husband has been working in the mine since more than seven years. I shifted here from Hazaribagh five years ago after my marriage. What will I do now? My husband was the sole bread-winner," said Soni, who has an 18-month-old son Ayush.

Rinku and Soni are close friends who shared everything with each other - their happiness, grief and even daily groceries. They lived in the same house in two separate rooms at Lahariya Tola, less than 2km from the mishap site.

Speaking about her husband's horrific experience, Rinku said he was working at some 300ft beneath the ground along with Kuleshwar and others. "He told me that at 6.30pm, he felt some vibration. Sensing trouble, he ran for his life and somehow escaped."

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