Around five persons were suspected to have been trapped inside an unused coal mine in Asansol. According to the police one person was killed in the incident.
Police said that five persons entered into Sarishathali Kholamukh coal mine at the Kapistha area of Barbani in Asansol. Police suspect that the victims were involved in illegal coal mining. Police and local administration joined hands in the rescue operation.
It was learnt that the Kholamukh coal mine had been closed for last three months. As it remained non-operational for a while, some local people started illegal mining. On Saturday evening around 5 persons entered into the mine. When the victims were digging up the coal, a portion of the mine had fallen on them. As coal mining is done in an unscientific way there is always a risk of a portion of a mine falling at the time of mining. There have been many such incidents in various mines in Asansol area where illegal mining has been rampant.
On Saturday night police came to know that some people who went into the mine were trapped inside Kholamukh coal mine and rushed to the spot. But they were unable to start the rescue operations during the night. Early in the Monday morning police and disaster management team had reached the spot but were unable to trace the victims. The rescue team, however, spotted a person who was trapped inside the mine. They were trying to remove the body from under the chunks of coal. Police said that some more people were there at the time of the incident but they might have fled the place after the incident. The intensity of the incident would have been greater if it had happened during the day time.
Police said that one person was killed in the incident but the local people alleged that many people were trapped inside the mining. They also said that it was a practice for some people in the area to indulge in illegal coal mining. A section of the local residents have protested against the police inaction to curve illegal coal mining in the area. They said that the police and local administration are yet to take any major step to check the illegal mining.
Though, a senior official of Burdwan district said that surveillance has been carried out in all the coal mines. The raids were being conducted to nab the culprits involved in illegal coal mining from time to time, a senior police officer in the district said.