India Abandoned Coal Mine Collapse, Several Trapped


An incident occurred in West Burdwan, India, on Sunday in which several people were feared to be trapped inside an abandoned coal mine. It is believed that the individuals, mostly from Jharkhand, had been hired by the coal mafia to steal coal from the closed Bharat Coking Coal Limited mine.

“We suddenly felt a tremor and heard a crackling sound. We rushed and saw the nearby mud road had developed cracks and a part of the abandoned mine had caved in. Many people were seen running out of the mine and shouting for help,” said an eyewitness. “We don’t know if all came out. Some may well be inside the mine.”

Local residents claimed that coal smuggling had resumed ahead of the panchayat elections in the area. The deputy commissioner of police stated that no reports of casualties had been received and that an investigation into the incident was underway. Villagers accused the coal mafia of causing instability at the mine through illegal coal lifting and posing a threat to people.

Local BJP leader Lalon Mehra alleged: “Smuggling of coal has resumed here with the blessings of local Trinamul leaders and police. I have been complaining to police against illegal coal pilfering but no action has been taken.”

“Coal is the property and concern of the Centre. Its own CISF personnel guard the mines. What are they doing if such illegal business is going on?” local Trinamul leader Biman Dutta shot back.

The incident led to a political dispute between local BJP and Trinamul leaders, with allegations made against each other’s involvement in the illegal coal activities. It is suggested that the illegal coal smuggling business in the area is supported by the ruling party and used as a source of funding and muscle power for election rigging.

“One local road developed cracks following the incident. We are probing what actually happened. No report of casualties has been received yet,” said Abhishek Modi, deputy commissioner of police (west).Asked if anyone was trapped inside the mine, the DCP said no complaints of missing persons from nearby villages had been received yet.

“As of now, we haven’t received any missing persons information from nearby villages. I cannot say exactly how many people are trapped or not trapped inside the mine but the matter is being investigated,” he said.

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