Workers drill at an open cast coal field at Dhanbad district in Jharkhand. File photo/ Reuters
Four workers are feared dead and nine have been injured in a landslide at a Coal India Ltd mine in the eastern state of Odisha, a company spokesman said on Wednesday.
India is one of the most dangerous countries to be a coal miner, with one worker dying every seven days on average in 2018 in mines operated by state-run Coal India and Singreni Collieries Co Ltd, according to government data.
The open cast mine in Odisha, with production capacity of 20,000 tonnes a day, had been shut after the late on Tuesday accident, Dikken Mehra, a spokesman for Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd, a Coal India subsidiary told Reuters.
“It will take at least a week to resume operations,” Mehra said.
India's numerous illegal mines, often in remote hilly terrain, also have a poor safety record, although there is little data as many accidents go unreported.
In December, at least 15 miners were trapped in an illegal “rat-hole” coal mine in the northeastern state of Meghalaya.
Thousands of workers in Meghalaya, including children, have been killed in the so-called rat-hole mines, in which miners crawl into narrow shafts on bamboo ladders to dig for low-quality coal.
The idea of launching Nyuntam Aay Yojana, a cash transfer scheme that intends to provide Rs 72,000 per year to the poorest 20 per cent Indian families, by the Congress Party if it comes to power, has stirred a debate among the policymakers about whether the move is economically viable or is just a tactic by the Congress Party to garner votes in the upcoming general elections.
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