Jharkhand coal mine cave-in: Toll rises to 17

Ranchi, Jan 1 (IANS) The toll in Jharkhand coal mine cave-in has risen to 17 with the recovery of one more body, an official said on Sunday.

“Rescue teams of the National Disaster Response Force, Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL), Bharat Coking Coal Limited, state government and experts have been continuously carrying out rescue work at the accident site,” a Coal Ministry statement said.

The tragedy occurred at the Rajmahal Open Cast Project of Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) around 7.30 p.m. on Thursday in Godda district of Jharkhand.

The Coal Ministry has termed the accident “unprecedented”.

“ECL is in contact with the families of the deceased and all the necessary help is being extended to them. Law and order is under control,” the ministry’s statement said.

A solid floor area of 300 metres in length by 110 metres width of the overburden dump area slid down by about 35 metres involving around 9.5 million cubic metres of earth material.

“This could be due to failure of the bench edge along the hidden fault line/slip,” the Coal Ministry said.

Besides the probe by the Director General of Mines Safety, a “high level committee of experts” was constituted by Coal India Limited (CIL) to investigate the causes of the accident.

The Jharkhand government of Chief Minister Raghubar Das has announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the families of those miners killed in the accident and Rs 25,000 each for those injured.