July 24, 2019 / 5:28 AM / a month ago

Four feared dead in mishap in Coal India mine in Odisha

FILE PHOTO: Trucks move in the Mahanadi coal fields, near Talcher town in Odisha, March 28, 2012. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri/File Photo

BHUBANESWAR, India (Reuters) - Four workers are feared dead and nine have been injured in a landslide at a Coal India Ltd mine in 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 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.

Writing by Sudarshan Varadhan; Editing by Robert Birsel

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