Villagers pour mine ire on road

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  • Published 3.01.08

Durgapur Jan. 3: Villagers today blocked National Highway 2 for about an hour and gheraoed the office of the Eastern Coalfields Limited general manager in Satgram, demanding that the fire at an abandoned coal mine be put out immediately.

“We are on the verge of death and the ECL is sleeping. The administration and police are also mere spectators. Coal smugglers are digging pits in abandoned coal mines in Jamuria. More fires may break out any time but the police are not bothered,” said Bhim Bauri, 30, of Benali village.

His neighbour Asim Pramanik said villagers were feeling “ill” because of the smoke billowing out for the last three days. “If they (the ECL) do not wake up, we will intensify our agitation,” he said.

Around 500sqft of the coal mine collapsed today, triggering a fresh wave of panic.

ECL authorities said they had engaged two more bulldozers to fill up the coal pits and cracks. “We are trying our best to douse the flames,” said general manager K.P. Singh.