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Cave-in floods mine, 1 killed - Another CCL officer still missing

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  • Published 29.08.12

Bermo (Bokaro), Aug. 28: A CCL officer, who had gone inside a mine with two colleagues to inspect a leak today, was killed after a cave-in flooded the mine and trapped them underneath a rubble of coal in Bermo, about 35km from Bokaro steel town.

According to sources, a rescue team of six men from Ramgarh that had been sent down Dhori colliery (numbers 4,5, and 6) after the 1pm accident, recovered the body of mining sardar Abhay Kant Yadav. But manager P.K. Singh was yet to be traced.

Supervisor Dugar Mahto, who was with the two when the sudden gush of water threw them onto a side after which a huge pile of coal nearly choked a portion of the mine, was the only survivor.

Mahto said he was saved as he was thrown to the other side. “I fell, too. But, the gush of water, coupled with the impact of the huge pile of coal, sent my seniors to the other side. I think they were swept inside the mine by the current,” he said.

The supervisor added that he tried to look for them as soon as he could. “After a few minutes, I mustered the courage to stand up in the inundated mine bed and look for them. I couldn’t see them. The mine was getting flooded very fast. I panicked and managed to come out,” Mahto said.

Later, after regaining his composure, Mahto narrated his close shave with death. He said Yadav and Singh had asked him to accompany them inside the mine to inspect a leak.

Therefore, he collected a few implements like a shovel, spade and an iron rod with him before they all went inside the mine. Once they reached the spot, Mahto tapped on the portion of the wall which was leaking to check its strength.

It now turns out that it was barely holding on. For, immediately after that the cave-in happened.

Coal miners, who had gathered there in hundreds after hearing about the tragedy, blamed Central Coalfields Ltd for ignoring safety measures.

“Even today, CCL officers were telling us to get inside the mine and start operations. But we objected seeing the seepage inside the mine. After that the two officers and the supervisor went inside to check,” said miner Mohammad Akbar Ansari while his co-workers R.K. Mahto and S.P. Singh nodded in agreement.

Dumri MLA Jagganath Mahto, who reached the site of accident in the evening, demanded that FIRs be lodged against the top management of CCL, alleging it did not care for the lives of poor miners.

Dhori colliery GM Charan Singh refused to elaborate on the accident.

He said rescue operations were on and that senior CCL officers would issue a statement later.