Bhubaneswar, Aug 20
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has sought details of the Mahanadi Coalfield Ltd (MCL) mines mishap from Odisha Chief Secretary JK Mohapatra with a direction to file a report within four weeks.
11 persons died and many other were seriously injured as an overburdened coal dump of the Kulda opencast coalmine of the MCL in the Basundhara-Garjanbahal area in Sundargarh district caved in on August 10. The Basundhara-Garjanbahal area of the MCL continues to be under the scanner for excess production and loss of coal in fire.
Three days ago well-known human rights activist and senior advocate of the Odisha High Court Prabir Kumar Das had urged the 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 had said the authorities of MCL did not take adequate safety measures to prevent the people from entering the prohibited area except putting up a sign board declaring it a prohibited zone. The company authorities neither erected a compound wall around the dumping yard nor appointed security guards to prevent trespass and ensure safety.
“It appears that such a mishap was waiting to happen due to the negligence of the authorities concerned”, Das had observed in his letter.
Das had also requested the Commission to direct the PSU to pay Rs 25 lakh as compensation to each bereaved family and provide job to one member and Pay Rs 5 lakh to each injured person.