Five women killed in mine cave-in

BOKARO: Five women were killed after the surface of an illegal coal mine caved in while they were digging out coal at Prem Pahari in Chandrapura here on Tuesday.

The deceased have been identified as Sanju Devi (30), Geeta Devi (32), Baleshwari (30), Kunti Devi (31) and Nirmala Devi (32). Police had initially recovered three bodies but later found two more bodies that the villagers hid before police reached there.

“All the victims were residents of Jhinjhirgutu village close to the spot where the incident occurred. An FIR has been lodged with Chandrapura police station,” said Bokaro DC Sunil Kumar, who went to the spot to assess the situation.

However, the incident exposed the negligence of police as well as mines and administrative officials in curbing illegal mining and transportation activities in the district. The illegal coal mining at Prem Pahari has been taking place unabated for the past several months, said a source.

A villager said the incident occurred around 11.30am. Over 12 women were busy in digging out coal around 10 feet below the surface. “But unfortunately the upper layer of the mine where Kunti along with four others were extracting coal subsided with a huge sound on them and they were crushed under it,” he said.

The other women raised the alarm prompting the villagers to rush to the spot and recovered the bodies from the debris. The administrative officials later took help of an earth-moving machine to search the bodies buried under the debris.

Sources said many women of Jhinjhirgutu village frequented Prem Pahari to dig out coal which they later used for cooking or selling. After the accident, Giridih MP Ravinder Pandey, Dumri MLA Jagarnath Mahto and other local leaders reached the spot and expressed condolence over the deaths.

A pall of gloom descended on Jhinjhirghutu village as the news spread. Many residents, especially the kin of deceased, are now living in fear of police action in this connection. Bokaro SP Kuldeep Dwivedi said investigation was being carried on in the matter. The bodies of the deceased have been sent for postmortem.

DC Kumar said they were inquiring about the land in which coal mining was being carried on illegally. Sources said people while digging land for construction of some structure had found the coal five feet below the surface and started excavating it unlawfully.


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