Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy on Wednesday virtually sprang a surprise by deciding to get down into an underground coal mine, the Prakasham Kani 1, to have an understanding of the strenuous conditions under which miners worked.

Accompanied by MLC P. Sudhakar Reddy, Deputy Speaker Mallu Bhatti Vikarmarkha and Singareni Collieries Chairman & Managing Director Sudirtha Bhattacharya, he used the riding chair to get down to a depth of about 200 metres under the ground.

The Prakasham Kani 1 extends to a depth of 287 metres, near Manuguru, about 140 km away from the district headquarters town. Once in the mine, he spent about an hour and a half, interacting with the hard-working miners and enquiring about their working conditions, inspecting the technology-assisted coal mining process.

He said no effort would be spared for their welfare. Much to the surprise of others, Mr. Reddy operated the Side Discharge Loader used in coal exploration.