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Pankaj Kumar, Hindustan Times
Dhanbad, November 11, 2013
Mining disasters, just like the swirl of choking grime and dust of coal fields, have almost become a regular part of life in Jharkhand's Dhanbad.

The Chasnalla mines accident, in which 372 miners were feared trapped in the coal mines in December 1975, remains one of the most disastrous incidents to take place here.

The accident occurred as a blast in the mines caused a breach in the barrier and millions of gallons of water stocked in the reservoir inundated the mines.

Even though rescue operations continued for more than a month, none of the miners could be either saved, or their bodies found. The Indian Iron and Steel Company Limited used to own the mines back then.

In October 1995, an inundation of Gazlitand coal mines, owned by the Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL), claimed 64 lives. As the Katri river swelled following heavy rains, the river changed it course and inundated the mines. All miners working in the night shift on that fateful day were declared dead.

In September 2001, yet another major accident due to inundation of coal mines was witnessed in the BCCL-owned Bagdiggi coal mines. Miners were working on seam no. three, four and five and a borehole to insert dynamite was done in the wall. The miners, however, were not aware of the thickness of the wall.

Just as the blast was triggered, the wall broke and water on the other side of wall filled the three seams, leading to the death of 29 miners. The rescue team could save only one miner.

In the same year, inundation of BCCL's Chaitudih coal mines killed one miner. In 2006, it was the BCCL-owned Bhatdih-Nagda mines. A blast inside the mines claimed as many as 64 lives. All of them died after inhaling carbon dioxide that filled the mines after the blasts.

On October 12 this year, 67 miners spent seven agonising hours inside a dark and claustrophobic underground coal pit following a power failure in the Jitpur coal mines of the Steel Authority of India (SAIL).

The miners were rescued only in the afternoon after company engineers fed power from an alternative source to run the lifts into the 'deep mines'.

Besides, illegal mining in abandoned mines has emerged as a nagging pain on Dhanbad's back. With miners venturing into unprotected mines, the number of accidents is refusing to diminish.

READ: Jharkhand: 4 miners killed, 6 trapped in coal mine collapse


Dhanbad mine mishaps in last 4 years
Date of incident Areas of occurrence No. of dead/injured
January 25, 2010 Khudiya Colliery One dead
January 31, 2010 Rajpura open-cast mine One injured
May 27, 2010 Hariyajam Colliery Six injured
November 21, 2010 Khudiya Colliery Two dead
January 27, 2011 Behind KSGM College Two dead
February 12, 2012 Gopinathpur open-cast mine One dead
April 23, 2012 BCCL's Budhiya colliery Two dead
December 23, 2012 Hariyajam colliery One dead
January 11, 2013 Thaparnagar One dead
March 14, 2013 Khudiya open-cast mine One dead
April 13, 2013 Kapasara One dead, six injured
May 21, 2013 Khudiya open-cast mine One dead, three injured
July 18, 2013 North Layakdih colliery One dead