BHUBANESWAR (Reuters) – Members of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have mounted protests that have paralyzed production at one of India’s biggest coalfields following a deadly accident last week.
The BJP workers have been staging sit-down protests and waving flags at state-run Coal India Ltd’s mines in the eastern state of Odisha, demanding a safety audit of all mines in the region.
Rescue officials said they have recovered the bodies of three workers who were trapped inside the mine in Odisha’s Angul district after a landslide on Tuesday, and are trying to recover another body from inside the mine.
Kalandi Samal, a local BJP leader who is leading the protests, said the demonstrations will continue until authorities ensure safety measures to prevent such tragedies and ensure adequate compensation to the victims. “We demand specific guidelines on safety audits of mines,” Samal said.
Production at Odisha state’s Talcher coalfields, which account for at least an eighth of Coal India’s annual production, has not resumed after the accident, said Dikken Mehra, a spokesman for Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd, a unit of Coal India.