Bhubaneswar, Aug 19
Alleging gross negligence on the part of the Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) leading to the tragic death of 11 persons in the collapse of the dumping yard at Kulda coal mine site of Basundhara-Garjanbahal area in Sundargarh district on August 10, well-known human rights activist and senior advocate of the Odisha High Court Prabir Kumar Das has urged the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to direct a fair and independent probe into the incident and initiate criminal proceedings against erring officials.
In a letter to the Commission, Das has said the authorities of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) did not take adequate safety measures to prevent the people from entering the prohibited area except putting up a sign board declaring it as a prohibited zone.
The company authorities neither erected a compound wall around the dumping yard and nor appointed security guards to prevent trespassing and ensuring safety. “It appears that such a mishap was waiting to happen due to the negligence of the authorities concerned”, Das observed.
Describing the MCL’s announcement of ex-gratia to the tune of Rs 3 lakh each to the next of the kin of the deceased as ‘grossly inadequate’, Das has requested the Commission to direct the company to pay Rs 25 lakh as compensation to each bereaved family, provide jobs to one member of each bereaved families and Rs 5 lakh to each injured person.
He has also requested the Commission to issue necessary guidelines to the Coal ministry to ensure and enforce safety measures in coal mines to prevent such tragic incidents in future.