At least one miner was killed and two others, including safety in-charge, were trapped in debris inside one of the underground mines operated by Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) in Jharkhand’s Jamshedpur district Saturday. Nine other miners sustained minor injuries and were admitted to Tata Main Hospital (TMH).
Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das expressed condolences and directed senior officials to oversee the rescue operations and ensure best possible treatment for the injured.
According to officials, the incident occurred at Turamdih mines of UCIL, located nearly 23 km from Jamshedpur headquarters at around noon.
At least 10 injured miners were brought to TMH. One of the injured, Milan Karmkar, aged around 43, succumbed later in the day. Other injured persons were declared out of danger, with a few of them already discharged.
The two injured persons have been identified as Surya Kant Singh, a permanent employee of UCIL and incharge of safety in that particular shift, and Sonaram Kisku, a private miner working through a contractor. At least four rescue teams of UCIL have been pressed into service.
Officials said that the incident occurred during a sludge cleaning operation at the bottom of the lift shaft. Sub-Divisional Officer (Dhalbhum) Suraj Kumar said that sludge cleaning operation is done on an everyday basis at the bottom of the lift shaft. “It is around 250 metres beneath the ground and there is an incline at that particular point through which sludge is cleared with the help of vehicles. Water seepage, accompanied with mud and other things get accumulated as sludge at the bottom of the lift, which needs to be cleared. It was during the cleaning today that water flow into the shaft increased suddenly,” he said.
Apart from the SDO, at least three senior district officials are camping at the site. “The UCIL has called teams from its other sites also to help in the rescue mission. Things will become clear only after the sludge is cleared. It is taking time, as one has to be careful not to inflict further injury on those trapped,” said Kumar. He added that additional re-inforcements of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has also been deployed at the spot to respond to any emergency once the rescue operations are over.