At least four coal mine workers were killed and several others injured Tuesday in an explosion at the Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) in Telangana’s Peddapalli district. The workers died when the explosives they were fixing for blasting rocks went off. Of the three persons injured, one was shifted to Karimnagar hospital and two are in Godavarikhani Singareni Hospital.
The mishap took place around 11 am today morning at the OpenCast-1 mine in Ramagundem. The workers first placed non-electric detonators attached to boosters and filled with slurry (SME) into 32 holes at a depth of about 4 meters. When 33rd hole was being filled, the slurry suddenly exploded killing them. SCCL sources said that all the victims were hired by a private contractor for the work and not SCCL employees.
“Before taking up mining, earth has to be removed and when some boulders are found, they are drilled and filled with explosives and blasted from a distance. Unfortunately, it blasted much before expected though usually everyone is asked to vacate the area. The explosion happened even as the explosives were being filled in rocks today,” an official told indianexpress.com.
“We don’t know the severity of injuries. Depending on the need, they would be shifted to Hyderabad for better treatment,” he added.
The Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) is a government-run coal mining company jointly owned by the Government of Telangana and Government of India on a 51:49 equity basis. The Singareni coal reserves, according to the company website, stretch across 350 km of the Pranahita – Godavari Valley in Telangana with a proven geological reserves aggregating to a massive 8,791 million tonnes. SCCL is currently operating 18 opencast and 27 underground mines in four districts of Telangana, with a manpower around 48,942.
A team led by the Director General of Mines Safety is expected to inspect the site in the coming days for an inquiry into the incident.
Meanwhile, at the Godavarikhani area hospital, when the bodies of the deceased were brought for post-mortem, local union leaders staged a protest and demanded Rs 1 crore ex-gratia for the families of deceased and Rs 50 lakh for the injured. They also demanded a permanent job in SCCL for one of the family members of the deceased, apart from holding the guilty accountable.
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