Asansol coal mine catches fire, one dead

DURGAPUR, March 26: Fire and billowing smoke has escalated in Salanpur, Asansol, after a fire broke out at the abandoned Eastern Coalfields Limited coal mine in the region. A villager has died due to the worsening situation. The fire had spread to such an extent that the combat operations could not reach the worst affected zone, adjacent to the localities. The residents of Muchipara and Samdi villages blocked the Chittaranjan-Asansol road today for two hours, placing the body of Bhim Ruidas (44) on the road to protest against the state’s apathy. The villager died early this morning whilst the entire Muchipara locality was covered in gaseous fumes. The victim’s sister-in-law, Mrs Champa Ruidas, said: “He suffered from chronic asthma and complained of a severe cough when the smoke fumes began to engulf our village at midnight last night. We were taking him to the hospital when he died on the way.” Doctors of the Asansol SD Hospital said the victim had suffered from cardiac failure. The village residents have temporarily been shifted to an ECL community hall in Samdi. Some of the villagers have taken shelter at a Durga temple in the same village. The SDO, Asansol, Mr Debashis Sarkar, said: “Rehabilitation work will begin very shortly in Samdi and other affected areas in Salanpur.”

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