The Godda cave-in site
Ranchi/Dhanbad, Jan. 11: Jharkhand High Court today chose to assign responsibilities for the December 29 mine mishap in Godda, asking the Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS) whether it was competent enough to probe the death of 18 colliery workers and how long it might take to finish the same.
A two-member Bench of acting chief justice P.K. Mohanty and justice Ananda Sen, hearing a PIL filed by Mahagama Kranti Manch, also asked ECL to submit a report on rescue work and other allied activities undertaken after the cave-in at its Lalmatia colliery.
The coal PSU has been further directed to seal and submit the attendance register of the fateful day, amid claims and contradictory media reports that several miners are still missing although the official count of bodies now trapped under the debris is five.
The next hearing is scheduled for tomorrow.
Md Sarfaraz, one of the convenors of the Manch present at the hearing today, said they filed the PIL last Friday. "The company (ECL), we suspect, is fudging figures. We have information that more than 40 workers were buried when the overburden wall collapsed at Lalmatia. So far, only 18 bodies have been recovered," he added.
Eastern Coalfields said they had roped in rock mechanics experts from NIT-Rourkela to study "strata movement" at Lalmatia following instructions from DGMS, which had stalled the search mission last week after cracks developed on the overburden wall.
General manager (mining) R.R. Amitabh said tremors were being felt near the rescue site and ECL didn’t want to endanger lives. “The NIT team will reach Lalmatia tomorrow and analyse the nature of rock strata movement,” he said, adding that they were also preparing a safety proposal for DGMS sanction.