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Suryakant Jena

Talcher: Residents of the town today took to streets and called for a city-wide shutdown protesting mismanagement in mining operations after a house near the town police station suddenly developed a large crater on the floor triggering panic among the locals yesterday night.

Hundreds of local residents blocked main roads in the town and staged picketing at several places demanding immediate intervention of the district administration to look into their concerns. Due to the bandh, vehicular communication and businesses were affected.

According to sources, family of one Santilata Bai living near the town police station in the city found their house shaking yesterday evening and before they could think whether it was an earthquake a crater developed on the floor of their house. Much to the surprise, within few hours the hole deepened into a 4-feet crater.

Locals alleged that authorities of the Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) had not filled the now defunct Champapasi underground coal mines with sand due to which the crater is suspected to have developed.

This is not the first such incident in the town. Earlier, a road going towards Lingaraj underground mines had caved near the Sai Temple. Similarly, Hataota, Nabamishra Colony and Handidhuan area had also witnessed such incidents of crater developments.

In 2016, the district administration had cautioned the MCL authorities to ensure sand filing of unused underground coal mines after a road caved in near Handidhuan.

Local residents allege that despite repeated complaints, neither officials of the district administration nor the MCL authorities are addressing their concerns.

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