Coal mine near Asansol catches fire; one killed

| | Updated on: Jun 28, 2012

At least one person is feared killed in a major coal fire that broke out in an illegal mine near Asansol which spread over the adjacent opencast Belbandh project of Eastern Coalfields Ltd. Headquartered in Asansol, ECL is a wholly owned subsidiaty of Coal India Ltd (CIL).

While responses of State Government are not available, ECL sources said rampant illegal mining in the area has made fire fighting extremely difficult.

Illegal miners dig shallow wells (using the same technology as is commonly used in digging water wells) and use cheap labour (especially from the neighbouring Jharkhand) to drill rat holes running perpendicular to the well. The flip side is it leaves the earth hollow, leading to regular occurrence of subsidence in the area.

ECL sources say such subsidence has made fire fighting difficult.

“A couple of our senior officials were monitoring the fire fighting in the illegal mining area when the earth subsided. While officials escaped unhurt one security guard of the company went missing,” a source said.

Published on June 28, 2012

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