Godda coal mine mishap: Groom-to-be yet to surface, family hopes against hope
Set to get married in January, a 22-year-old groom-to-be, who got trapped in an opencast coal mine collapse here on December 29 night, has left his fiancée and their families hoping for a miracle.
Gagan Singh, the supervisor engineer of Mahalaxmi Engineering Company, was among over 60 workers and about 26 Volvo trucks and six bulldozers to get trapped in the nearly 300-metre deep mine here in Jharkhand’s Godda district.
The resident of Bihar’s Bhagalpur district is the only son of Ashish Singh, a farmer, who is in a state of trauma after learning about the incident.
Though the over-24-hour rescue operation is yet to find a live person, Gagan’s family and his would-be in-laws are hoping against hope.
His marriage, earlier scheduled in November, was first postponed due to demonetisation and the currency crisis. Now, the shadow of death looms large, casting a spell of gloom over his family.
Gagan’s brother-in-law Ranjit Singh came from Bhagalpur to Godda on Friday and has been camping at the site since.
“We were waiting for celebrations in the family. Gagan’s father was counting the days for his return from Godda to start the marriage rituals. Everything changed in a flash,” Ranjit said.
Gagan had been working with Mahalakshmi for three years, and was the only engineer in the family. He was born to Ashish Singh after three daughters.
“The day he was born, his father decided to go on a char dham yatra (pilgrimage) after his marriage,” said his cousin Navnit Singh, who too has been camping at the site of the incident since Friday.
Ranjit and Navnit were not the only ones mourning for their brother. Waris, a survivor of the mishap, had come to work here with his two brothers Shakil and Parwez from Ramgarh. When the overburden collapsed, he saw both of them disappearing with it.
“I ran to save Shakil, but the mine workers stopped me, and he got covered with the overburden. I kept shouting Parwez, Parwez, hoping that at least he would be safe, but couldn’t find him either,” he said.
Shakil’s body was found on Friday while Parwez is still missing. Waris recalled that his marriage had been fixed for March and the entire family was preparing for the ceremony.
Every day after work, the three brothers would have dinner from the same plate, he said, sobbing.