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Tragedy Strikes in Assam: Landslide at Illegal Mine Claims Lives of Coal Workers from Meghalaya and Nepal

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In a devastating incident in the Patkai Hills of Tinsukia’s Ledo, Assam, three coal workers have been feared dead following a landslide at an illegal rat-hole coal mine. The disaster occurred in the Tikak Colliery area, nestled between Bor Golai and Namdang, during the night between Saturday and Sunday. This tragic event has once again highlighted the dangers associated with illegal mining operations in the region.

Among the deceased, one worker has been identified as Dawa Sherpa from Bhojpur in Nepal. The other two victims, known only as John and Phinal, hailed from Meghalaya. According to sources, there were four coal workers at the site when the incident occurred. Three were engaged in coal excavation, while the fourth was tasked with transporting the coal outside the mine. The landslide struck without warning, trapping the three laborers inside the collapsed mine.

An eyewitness account from the worker responsible for transporting coal provided a chilling description of the incident. He recounted the terrifying moment when the mine’s structure gave way, burying his colleagues under tons of earth and rock. Despite immediate efforts to rescue the trapped workers, the site quickly became inaccessible due to the severity of the landslide.

Authorities, including the police and top officials from North Eastern Coalfields Coal India Limited, have since arrived at the scene to manage the situation and coordinate rescue efforts. However, as of now, no significant progress has been made in retrieving the bodies of the trapped workers. The challenging terrain and the instability of the mine have complicated rescue operations.

Illegal rat-hole mining, a hazardous and unregulated practice, remains a persistent issue in the region. These mines are typically narrow, winding tunnels dug into the ground, posing extreme risks to those who work within them. The lack of safety measures and the unstable nature of these mines frequently result in accidents, often with fatal consequences.

The incident has brought renewed attention to the plight of coal workers who, driven by economic necessity, continue to work in these dangerous conditions. Dawa Sherpa, John, and Phinal are the latest victims in a long history of mining tragedies in the region. Their deaths underscore the urgent need for stricter enforcement of mining regulations and improved safety standards to prevent such incidents in the future.

Local authorities have initiated an investigation into the incident, aiming to identify the parties responsible for operating the illegal mine. The findings will likely have significant implications for the enforcement of mining laws in the area. In the meantime, the families of the deceased workers are left to grapple with their loss, facing an uncertain future without their primary breadwinners.

This tragedy has prompted calls from various quarters, including human rights organizations and environmental activists, for more stringent measures to curb illegal mining activities. The environmental degradation caused by such practices, coupled with the loss of human lives, paints a grim picture of the mining sector’s dark underbelly.

In response to the incident, a spokesperson from North Eastern Coalfields Coal India Limited emphasized the company’s commitment to safety and regulatory compliance. “We are deeply saddened by this tragic event and are doing everything in our power to support the rescue efforts and assist the families of the victims. Illegal mining is a grave concern, and we are working closely with local authorities to address this issue and prevent future occurrences,” the spokesperson said.

As rescue operations continue, the community remains hopeful for a breakthrough, despite the overwhelming odds. The incident serves as a stark reminder of the perils faced by those working in illegal mines and the urgent need for comprehensive reforms to safeguard their lives.

In conclusion, the landslide in the Patkai Hills has once again shed light on the dangerous realities of illegal coal mining in Assam. The deaths of Dawa Sherpa, John, and Phinal highlight the critical need for enhanced safety measures, stricter enforcement of mining regulations, and a concerted effort to eliminate illegal mining practices. As authorities work to retrieve the bodies and provide support to the affected families, the incident stands as a somber call to action for all stakeholders involved in the mining industry.

Also read: NEATEHUB AND STATE BANK OF INDIA FORGE PARTNERSHIP TO PROPEL AGRI-BUSINESS ECOSYSTEM

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