Fire in Odisha’s Orient coal mine hits livelihood of hundreds

Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Brajarajnagar, Aug 15:   

All entry points to the Orient coal mines near Brajarajnagar in Odisha’s Jharsuguda district have been sealed due to leakage of toxic gas from number-3 underground coal mine after it caught fire on Tuesday last.

Orient coalminesAs production in the Mahanadi Coalfield Limited (MCL) managed mines has been stopped completely, hundreds of workers are uncertain about their future.

It may be noted that the deputy director, Mines (DDM) Nagendra Kumar issued a notification to seal the mines after the lower basement of the mines caught fire on Tuesday and poisonous gas started leaking on Thursday.

The decision to close down the mines without offering a compensation package, however, hasn’t gone well with the miners. While there is uncertainty over future production from this mine, 948 labourers who worked under a contractor in this mine have been under severe distress.

Though the workers protested the decision and demonstrated on Friday, the authorities have not been able to assure any compensation package or future course of action.

Due to the closure of the mines the daily loss of the company, which produces about 1000 tonnes of high-grade coal, is estimated at Rs 2 crore.

As per sources, the authorities have started work to close all six entry points of the mines. While these entry points were initially blocked by sandbags, the company authorities on Friday started erecting concrete walls for their permanent closure.

The DDM on Friday arrived here  from Bhubaneswar to discuss the safety aspects of the mines with the department officials.

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