“CMD, ECL, has reported that a total of nine bodies of workmen have been recovered from the accident site so far,” a Coal Ministry statement said on Friday, adding two injured persons were undergoing treatment. R R Mishra, officiating CMD of ECL, a Coal India arm, said that the mishap occurred at around 7.30 pm Thursday night when excavators were working there following which rescue operations was launched immediately.
Director General of Mines Safety and senior officials were there to supervise the rescue operation, Mishra said. The statement said all 10 equipment excavators and dump trucks have been recovered.
An inquiry has been ordered by the Director General of Mines Safety and a high-level committee of experts has been constituted by Coal India to investigate the causes of the accident. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Coal Minister Piyush Goyal, Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das and other leaders expressed grief over the loss of lives.
Das said an assistance of Rs two lakh will be given to the families of the miners who died in the accident while ECL also announced an ex-gratia compensation of Rs five lakh each to these families, in addition to the amount to be paid under the Workmen’s Compensation Act. The PM said Jharkhand Government and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal were “working to restore normalcy”.
The National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) was engaged for rescue & relief operations. “Saddened by the loss of lives at a mine in Jharkhand. My prayers are with those trapped inside. Spoke to CM Raghubar Das on the situation,” Modi said on twitter. Das also announced Rs 25,000 to the injured, official sources said.
“CMD, ECL has reported that an incident of overburden dump slide/subsidence has occurred in the second shift of December 29, at about 7.30 PM in the Rajmahal Open Cast Expansion Project in district Godda, Jharkhand....,” the statement said. Godda is about 250 kms from state capital Ranchi.
All the necessary help to the families of the deceased is being extended by ECL, it said.
“Prima facie, it is observed that the incident 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. This could be due to failure of the bench edge along the hidden fault line/slip,” the statement said. Senior management of ECL and state government officials have been supervising the rescue operations since Thursday evening, it added.