At least three persons were killed and nearly half a dozen injured when an active mine collapsed on Friday morning in the Bhowra colliery area of Jharkhand’s Dhanbad district.
The Bhowra colliery in Jharia block belongs to Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL), a subsidiary of PSU Coal India Limited.
Dhanbad deputy commissioner Sandeep Singh confirmed the incident.
“We have got confirmation from the BCCL about one death while locals have claimed three deaths. The BCCL has been asked to ascertain the number of deaths and injured persons and take action according to the law. It is an active mine in the Bhowra colliery area of BCCL and the outsourcing agency Dev Prabha Limited was doing the mining work,” said Singh.
According to locals, three bodies including that of a minor Jitender Yadav, a resident of Bhowra sector 16; Pawan Kumar, 30, a resident of Bhowra sector 6; and a middle-aged woman were taken out by the rescuers.
The Central Industrial Security Force, along with local police and the villagers, conducted the rescue operation.
Nearly six persons brought out by the rescuers were taken away for medical attention in an undisclosed location.
“We have constituted a committee led by Jharia circle officer to probe into the incident and verify if unauthorised entry had been done in the mining area and find out what lapses had taken place resulting in the mishap. We had in the past directed all mining operators to lodge FIR in case of unauthorised entry into their mining area based on evidence like CCTV footage etc. We would want the BCCL to lodge an FIR if there was unauthorised entry,” Singh said.
He also said that according to the standard procedure, a team from Directorate General Mines Safety (DGMS) would probe into the incident and report the lapses leading to the mishap.
The deputy commissioner said that compensation for the deceased and injured would depend on the report of the BCCL.
Senior superintendent of police, Dhanbad, Sanjeev Kumar, said: “We are waiting for the BCCL’s report. Action will be taken according to the report.”
A Calcutta-based spokesperson of the BCCL expressed his inability to comment on this incident.
The website of the BCCL terms the underground collieries in Bhowra as the most “difficult mines in the world”.