After Jharkhand toll, 2016 one of deadliest years for mine workers – by Anil Sasi (Indian Express – January 3, 2017)

Eastern Coalfields, where the latest accident has taken place, is a subsidiary of State-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL), the world’s largest coal miner.

Thursday night’s mine collapse at Eastern Coalfields Ltd’s Lal Matia coal mine in Jharkhand rounds up one of the deadliest years for those toiling deep in the bowels of the earth.

The 17 mine worker deaths reported till January 1 sharply push up the mining fatality count for this year, which stood at 65 across both coal and non-coal mines during just the first six months of this year, for which latest data is available — translating into a fatality every three days. More than a dozen workers remain trapped.

In a sector whose safety record is far from inspiring, at least 122 people more were documented to have met with a serious accident during this period, which translates into a serious accident every one and a half days. With a fatal accident every three days, mining is arguably the most dangerous profession in India, alongside ship-breaking.

The numbers for July-December 2016, which would include the Lal Matia mining accident, could well push the fatalities this year to a record high.

Major accidents this year include one in the early hours of May 28 at the Turamdih Uranium Mine near Jamshedpur, run by the State-owned Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL), killing three miners after they accidentally got buried under the wet radioactive slurry they were reportedly clearing at a depth of over 250 metres. The Turamdih mine is located 6 km from Jamshedpur in Jharkhand.

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