Power blackout strands 200 coal miners

KOLKATA, India Tue Jul 31, 2012 5:11pm IST

A general view of an electric power station on the outskirts of Jammu July 31, 2012. REUTERS/Mukesh Gupta

A general view of an electric power station on the outskirts of Jammu July 31, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mukesh Gupta

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KOLKATA, India (Reuters) - Two hundred workers were stranded on Tuesday in three coal mines in West Bengal when a blackout affecting half the country cut off electricity to elevators in their underground pits, a mining company official said.

"We are waiting for the restoration of power to bring them up through the lifts, but there is no threat to their lives or any reason to panic," said Nildari Roy, a senior official at the mines' operator, Eastern Coalfields Limited.

Half of India's 1.2 billion people were without power on Tuesday as the grids covering a dozen states broke down, the second major blackout in as many days and an embarrassment for the government as it struggles to revive economic growth.

(Reporting By Sujoy Dhar; Writing by Frank Jack Daniel)

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