The mine, closed for years, was reopened six months back, says a miner

A coal miner was killed when a portion of the Bharat Coking Coal Limited’s underground coal mine collapsed in Nirsa, Dhanbad on Monday.

Three mine workers remained trapped inside the mine at Basantimata colliery till late Monday evening.

“There were more than 100 workers in the underground mine when a portion near the Sushil incline in the mine caved in at 11 a.m. BCCL’s rescue team managed to evacuate most of the workers out as a part of the mine was interconnected to other mines,” Dhanbad Superintendent of Police Anup T. Matthew said, adding: “Seven workers were directly affected by the collapse. Three of those rescued were injured; of them one is in the hospital here.”

“This mine had been closed for years and was reopened six months back. The portion that was opened collapsed when more than 150 workers were more than 1000 feet under the ground. We raise safety issues in meetings every month,” Kamal Kumar Ravidas, a BCCL worker, said over phone from Dhanbad where over 500 BCCL workers stayed put till Monday night as rescue operations went on.

BCCL Director (Technical) Ashok Sarkar did not respond when contacted by The Hindu.

Nirsa MLA Arup Chatterjee said: “There have been instances when mines have collapsed here earlier too. But this is the largest such incident and evacuation in recent years. Management needs to pay more attention to safety.”