10 killed in Odisha mine, probe ordered

    By IANS,

    Bhubaneswar: At least 10 people were killed and several others trapped after a pile of waste collapsed over them at an open cast coal mine of state-run Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) in Odisha Saturday, officials said. A probe has been ordered.

    The accident occurred around 9 a.m. at the Basundhara mining area at Kulda in Sundergarh district, 450 km from Bhubaneswar, when about 15-20 villagers were allegedly collecting coal shells from the dump illegally.

    “Of the 12 people taken out so far, eight were dead while two succumbed on their injuries on way to hospital. Operations will resume tomorrow to locate others who were trapped,” Sundergarh District Collector Bhupendra Singh Poonia told IANS.

    The waste, also known as overburden, is the material that lies above the coal reserve and is removed before mining and dumped in specified places. Since that waste contains some low grade coal shells, some people often sneak into the prohibited area of the mining zone to collect these from the dumps.

    “We have repeatedly been warning them not to do so because it is dangerous,” said MCL spokesman Dikken Mehra.

    MCL chairman-cum-managing director A.N. Sahay said he announced a compensation of Rs.3 lakh each for the families of those killed. “MCL will also bear the cost of the treatment of those injured,” he told IANS.

    The company management has also announced Rs.10,000 each to meet the expenses of the last rites of the dead.

    Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced a compensation of Rs.2 lakh for each of the families of those killed.

    He also directed the revenue divisional commissioner of the region to probe the incident and submit a report, said an official in the chief minister’s office.