Talcher: At least one worker was killed while nine others were injured following a landslide at the open cast mine of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) in Bharatpur last night. Sources said, three workers are still suspected to be trapped under the debris following a landslide due to the blasting for coal exploration at the site.

After a rescue operation of five hours at the mine, NDRF, MCL’s security personnel, police and Fire Services staff have managed to rescue 10 workers. The injured have been admitted to the company’s Central hospital for treatment.

Later in the day, the body of a worker identified as Papun Biswal was pulled out from the rubble by the rescue team. As three more workers are believed to be still trapped under the debris, rescue operations are on at the site. However, district collector Manoj Mohanty has said there is little chance of survival for those who are still trapped under the debris.

Pintu Swain, an eyewitness said, “The incident happened so fast that we could not comprehend and try to escape the site. But fortunately 10 of us managed to stay alive and were rescued.”

"Labourers working in the night shift at Bharatpur open cast mine in Talcher Coalfields of MCL came under a dump slide due to a strata failure," said an MCL statement.

MCL's Director (Technical/Operations) OP Singh who immediately rushed to take stock of the situation after the incident, assured that adequate compensation will be given to the family of the deceased while all kinds of assistance will be provided for the treatment of the injured employees.

Locals and employees working in the company have directly blamed that the MCL authorities’ lackadaisical attitude as the main reason behind the mishap. As huge cracks have got developed at the site following the incident, people have expressed concerns over the improper filling and dumping of quarried mines, more stress on excavation of coal under the pressure of more production, lack of security measures for the safety of workers.

"There is no proper planning for drawing of coal in the area due to which the incident has happened. The GM of the company should be immediately put behind bars because the authorities are not following safety guidelines but are rather concentrating only on earning profits," said a local resident.

Meanwhile, Union Minister for Petroleum/Natural Gas and Steel Dharmendra Pradhan tweeted, "Pained by the loss of life in the unfortunate mine accident at Bharatpur OCP located in Talcher Coalfield."

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