Miners “run amok” over arrears
[Again, the vocabulary choices in describing miners (who have gone 3 months without pay)]. –Ed.
Miners of Barapukuria Coalmine Company Ltd (BCMCL) demanding three month’s arrear wages went on a rampage yesterday and suspended coal extraction at the mine for five hours. They also assaulted officials of BCMCL and attacked coal buyers, truck drivers and their helpers, said mine sources. The mine resumed operation after the workers were paid their due wages.
Md Rabiul Islam and Nur Islam convener and general secretary of BCMCL Miners Association told The Daily Star that they called for a protest rally at the coalmine gate around 8:00am yesterday demanding payment of their arrear salaries of February, March and April.
Sources said during the rally a rumour spread that the BCMCL authorities would only pay the salaries of April next Thursday. Following this, the miners laid siege to the building of Chinese Machinery Company (CMC), the contracted company of the coalmine.
The miners closed the coal yard gate stopping coal selling from the mine, sources said.
This triggered a clash between coal buyers and the agitating miners. Several chases and counter chases took place between the two groups who were armed with bamboo sticks.
Sources said miners beat up two people during the clash. The wounded were identified as Md Sadequl Islam and Ramzan Ali, truck drivers of coal buyers, locals said.
The agitating miners then entered the administrative building of BCMCL and assaulted Petrobangla officials there. They also vandalised toilets, air conditioning units, furniture, the CMC canteen and smashed windowpanes, BCMCL officials claimed.
Phulbari police went to the spot and got the situation under control.
Md Mir Abdul Moteen, general manager (mining), said they would go for legal action against the perpetrators. He also said coal extraction was suspended soon after the incident and it resumed yesterday evening.
However, the convener and general secretary of the miners association told The Daily Star last night that the mine resumed operations around three in the afternoon after all their arrear wages were paid in full.
They, however, claimed that victims of the land subsidence around the mine swooped on the officials and attacked the CMC building and the coalminers had nothing to do with yesterday’s incident.
On Monday, land subsidence victims of the mine area held a rally in front of the coalmine gate demanding compensation for the losses they incurred. Sources said at least 1,000 people of 10 villages surrounding the mine joined the rally.
The protesters issued a 10-day ultimatum to the authorities for compensation to damages to their land and homes.