BHUBANESWAR/ROURKELA: It has reported that the death toll in coal dump crash at an open cast site of Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) in Odisha’s Sundargarh district mounted to 14 with the recovery of four more bodies as search and rescue operation resumed on Sunday.
“Four more bodies were recovered from the mishap site at Kulda open cast Basundhara-Garjanbahal coal mine area after search and rescue operation resumed this morning,” a spokesman of MCL said.
With this the death toll in yesterday’s mishap which stood at ten last night rose to 14, he said adding that the operation was still under way and the possibility of the toll mounting further cannot be ruled out.
The five persons who were rescued from the heap with injuries are undergoing treatment at a hospital.
A senior police official, who was at the spot during the rescue operation, did not rule out increase in the number of casualties as some more people were suspected to be trapped under the debris.
The incident took place when some people from nearby villages were collecting coal from the overburdened dump yard located near the mining area, the spokesman said.
Some of them were buried when a portion of the coal dump suddenly collapsed, probably due to heavy rains that lashed the area on Friday, he said, adding search and rescue operation was immediately launched at the site.
Chief minister Naveen Patnaik has ordered a probe into the incident by the local Revenue Divisional Commissioner.
The 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.
The MCL also sanctioned Rs 10,000 each for the victim’s family members for the funeral. It was also providing the medical expenditure for the injured, the spokesman said.
Many residents of the area often scour for coal in the dump yard.
Entry of people to this area, located outside the mining zone, was illegal and there were notice boards warning about it, the MCL spokesman added.