At least one employee of the Bharat Coking Coal Limited was confirmed dead and efforts were on to rescue four others trapped inside after part of the roof of Basantimata underground colliery at Dhanbad’s Nirsa caved in on Monday morning.
While one death has been confirmed, the toll is likely to go up with another body being spotted. “One body has been brought out while efforts are on to extricate one more body which is also visible now. Two others, still trapped inside, are also feared dead,” Bharat Coking Coal (BCCL) Chairman and Managing Director Tapas Kumar Lahiry.
“We can confirm only one death as of now...,” said R R Prasad, PRO, Bharat Coking Coal Limited. “The incident took place on the Sushil Incline of the colliery, located at the Chanch/Victoria area — number 12 — at about 11.30 in the morning. We have pressed 5-6 rescue teams into service. There are 3-4 medical teams on site. Even the Eastern Coalfields Limited have sent a team to help,” said Prasad.
The Chanch/Victoria area comprises nine mines that fall partly in West Bengal, covering a total of 32 sq km. Basantimata is one of the five mines in Jharkhand. Only three of the nine mines are operational now. Basantimata has reserves of 14.33 million tonnes and is serviced by two inclines.
MLA representing Nirsa, Arup Chatterjee, said, “From what I understand, the cave-in is the size of a football field. We have been raising security lapses. There has to be something wrong with the way the pillars were erected.”