Coal dump crash toll 14, police say 10
Bhubaneswar/Rourkela: Four more bodies were on Sunday extricated from under a coal dump which crashed at an open cast mine of the Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd in Sundergarh district on Saturday, taking the toll to 14, though police confirmed 10 deaths.
An official of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) maintained that 14 bodies had so far been recovered from the site of the mishap at Kulda in the Basundhara-Garjanbahal coal mine area.
However, Sundargarh Superintendent of Police Sanjeev Arora confirmed death of 10 persons in the incident that took place when a heap of coal dump caved in, burying people from nearby villages who went there to collect coal.
He said a search and rescue operation was still under way at the site as he and MCL officials did not rule out possibility of the toll increasing with some more people feared to have been trapped under the debris.
Five persons who were rescued from the heap with injuries are undergoing treatment at a hospital.
An MCL spokesman said some villagers who went to the crash site in search of coal were buried when a portion of the coal dump oll on a sudden collapsed, probably due to heavy rains that lashed the area on Friday.
He said a search and rescue operation had been launched immediately at the site.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has ordered a probe into the incident by the local Revenue Divisional Commissioner.
MCL and the Odisha government have separately announced ex-gratia of Rs 3 lakh and Rs 2 lakh respectively to the next of kin of the dead.
Meanwhile, leaders of different political parties visited the spot. BJP leader Dharmendra Pradhan said the company should have adopted proper safety measures while the Director General of Mining Safety ought to have ensured effective monitoring.
Senior Congress leader Kishore Patel and Odisha Commerce and Transport Minister Subrat Tarai blamed the MCL for the mishap.
However, the MCL spokesman said many residents of the area often visit the place to scour coal in the dump yard though entry of people to this area, located outside the mining zone, was illegal and there were notice boards warning about it.