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14-Day shutdown in Talcher Coalfields ends

Talcher: The 14-day-old shutdown in Talcher Coalfields of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) in Odisha’s Angul district ended Tuesday with locals calling off the agitation they had launched after a mishap at a mine killed four workers last month.

Four workers were killed and nine others injured in the mishap at Bharatpur mine on July 23, triggering protests by political parties and locals. Agitation by locals, initially backed by BJP and then by BJD leaders crippled production and supply of coal from Talcher since July 24.

The agitation was called off following talks between the district administration, MCL officials and villagers of the area, Additional District Magistrate (ADM) of Angul, Tapan Kumar Satpathy said.

Some BJD leaders, including Talcher MLA Braja Kishore Pradhan, were also present at the tri-partite meeting.

As per the discussion, the next of kin of the deceased would get adequate compensation. MCL would also recommend job for a member of each bereaved family to the Coal India Ltd, of which it is a subsidiary, the ADM said.

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The development has come a day after employees of MCL on Monday sought resumption of operations in Talcher Coalfields where production and supply was stalled.

Employees of MCL along with trade union leaders met Sub- Collector, Talcher, Paresh Nayak Talcher and submitted a representation on Monday seeking quick steps to restore normalcy in Talcher Coalfields and resume production in the remaining eight unaffected mines of the company.

Later, one round of tri-partite meeting was also held on Monday but it ended inconclusive. MCL officials said while the agitation has been called off, thorough inspection would have to be carried out to ascertain the safety conditions in Talcher mines as the agitation has led to water-logging and stranding of equipment.

Before taking any decision on resumption of mining operations, the company has already alerted its safety set up to go for quick structural inspection of the safety conditions of mines, an MCL spokesperson said.

The MCL would allow movement of men and machinery to resume operations only after clearance from the statutory authorities of respective mining units after complete safety check, he said.

All sections of the mines including over burden dumps, electrification network and excavation equipment will be thoroughly checked.

Apart from Bharatpur open cast project, Talcher Coalfield has eight other mines.

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