Published On : Mon, Jul 11th, 2016

With rains pounding region, WCL’s shut down open mines may turn into disaster zone

WCL Mines
Nagpur: Amidst the reports of incessant rains taking heavy toll in one way or the other in the regions, the shut down opencast mines of Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) could turn out to be the disaster zone. A virtual death trap. Despite laid down norms of Coal Ministry, the WCL management is found turning a blind eye as far as shut down mine is concerned. The “abandoned” opencast mine is left to its fate and so are the lives of people. Rain water inundating the huge craters of opencast mine turn it an unguarded lake and thus inviting disasters. Nagpur Today has stumbled upon such kind of a case which deserves to be exposed.

Western Coalfields Limited is in business of coal mining since years. The Company is a major source of supplies of coal to the industries across states. But since the past 10 to 12 years, the company, following the directives from Coal Ministry, is giving priority to opencast mines than the underground mining. WCL has started a number of opencast mines in Nagpur, Chandrapur and Pathakheda coming under office of General Manager. Durvasa Opencast Mine, near Bhadravati, is one of them. This mine comes under Telwasa Sub Area. Durvasa Opencast Mine was shut down 4-5 months ago after it exhausted the coal stock. Except four personnel, the rest were transferred to Telwasa mine. After shutting down the mine, WCL management was expected to cover its mouth with suitable material and then carry out leveling exercise for tree plantation or any other meaningful purpose. The Coal Ministry rules say so. But faced with the acute shortage of men and machine at running mines, then the leveling of closed down mines is out of question. And here lies the invitation to disasters of unprecedented magnitude.

According to sources, the WCL management, instead of filling and leveling the Durvasa open mine, has planned to fence it with wires as is done at other mines. Tenders for the work are going to be floated soon.

On the other hand, the WCL Headquarters has still not served notice regarding closure of the mine. It is learnt that a huge quantity of coal still exists in the mine. There is possibility that the Durvasa Opencast Mine could also be given an extension.

– Rajeev Ranjan Kushwaha ( )