Shiv Sahay Singh

Rescue operation under way at the Lalmatia Coal mines in Godda district of Jharkhand on Friday.   | Photo Credit: Manob Chowdhury

National Disaster Response Force was engaged in rescue and relief operations.

Ten bodies were recovered while more than 50 others are still trapped inside an open cast mine at Rajmahal in Jharkhand’s  Goda district. The incident occurred late on Thursday evening  when a major subsidence occurred at the open cast mine due to overburden dump slide.

Overburden dump is referred to layers of earth and other unwanted materials which is removed before mining coal. Five bodies have been identified so far and the dead are mainly contract workers from adjoining state of Bihar. Officials of  Eastern Coalfields Limited  described the subsidence as unprecedented.

Several pay loaders and dumpers including mining machinery has also been buried under the debris.  “Prima facie, it is observed that the incidence is unprecedented, since an area of 300 m length by 110 m wide solid floor of the over burden dump area has slid down by about 35 m involving around 9.5 million cubic meters of earth material,” ECL officials said. Senior management of ECL and State Government officials are supervising the rescue operations at the site of disaster.

Teams of National Disaster Response Force have also joined the rescue operations.    An inquiry has been ordered in the incident by the Director General of Mines Safety and a High Level Committee of Experts has been constituted by Coal India Limited to investigate into the causes of the accident.   A compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the family of the deceased.   Raj Bala Verma Chief Secretary of Jharkhand who visited the site said that rescue operations will continue in full swing and action will be taken against those responsible for the disaster.