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Illegal miners trapped under debris after mine collapse

At least three illegal miners died and as many as a dozen others are feared trapped in land subsidence at an open cast coal mine of Eastern Coalfields Limited in Raniganj in West Burdwan district late last night.

Illegal miners trapped under debris after mine collapse

File Photo

At least three illegal miners died and as many as a dozen others are feared trapped in land subsidence at an open cast coal mine of Eastern Coalfields Limited in Raniganj in West Burdwan district late last night. The bodies of Dinesh Ruidas (38), Samir Bauri (17) and Surajit Sen (21) were retrieved by rescue personnel from the collapsed mine at Narayanpuri in Raniganj under Asansol-Durgapur Police Commissionerate area here today. At least a dozen people are feared trapped inside.

Though BJP leader and Asansol South MLA Agnimitra Paul claimed about 50 people are trapped inside, former Asansol MP and state minister Bansa Gopal Chowdhury said that more than five people are still trapped inside. The deceased and those believed trapped are all said to be illegal coal miners. ADDA chairman and Raniganj MLA Tapas Banerjee said that since the past two years these people are not getting the 100 days’ job (MGNREGA) wages and are forced to undertake such a life threatening profession to run their families. The central government should be blamed for this tragic incident, he added. Dinesh Ruidas is a resident of Raghunath Chak in Pariharpara in Jamuria, Ballabhpur in Raniganj, Samir Bauri is a resident of Ballavpur in Raniganj Surajit Sen is a resident of Egara in Raniganj. All the three bodies have been sent to Asansol District Hospital for post-mortem.

A team of officials from the directorate general of mines safety (DGMS) Region 1 in Sitarampur has already inspected the site and has directed a probe. The officials said that initially one dead body was rescued and later two more. The rescue operation will continue as few more are feared trapped. It appears that the illegal miners were extracting coal from the disused section of the coal mine, officials said.

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Both MLA Agnimitra Paul and Citu leader Bansa Gopal Choudhury reached the spot after hearing of the incident. Ms Paul met with the families of the victims. She has demanded compensations for the victims’ family members and agitated outside the Raniganj Police Station. “It is a very sad incident, these poor people have lost lives and the police have failed to control illegal coal mining.

I have heard that once again organised coal mining syndicate has become active and have started operations in Ronai, Narayankuri in Raniganj and other places,”she alleged. She said that she will write to the Union coal minister about this incident and seek his intervention

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