Four coal mine workers of state-owned Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL) were killed and three others injured in an explosion at the coal mine in Telangana's Peddapalli district on Tuesday.
According to police, the incident occurred in the open cast mine-I of Ramagundam Region-III of Singareni at around 10:25 am.
Ramagundam Police Commissioner V Satyanarayana told reporters that the explosives meant to blast the rocks went off accidentally, killing four workers and injuring three others.
All four of the deceased were working on a contract basis. Police shifted the bodies to Singareni Hospital at Godavarikhani for autopsy.
The deceased were identified as Bandari Praveen Kumar aged 23 and S Rakesh aged 28, both from Godavarikhani mandal; Billa Rajesham aged 42 and Anjaiaj aged 41, both from Kamanpur mandal. Those injured in the accident are Kandari Shankar, K Venkatesham and Bheemaiah. All three are undergoing treatment at Godavarikhani area hospital.
Officials said the explosion occurred when the workers were filling some rocks for blasting them. The detonators exploded much before the expected time, resulting in the tragedy.
Speaking to The New Indian Express, the Ramagundam Police Commissioner V Sathyanarayana said the workers were filling holes in coal blocks with Site Miz Emulsion (SME) — an emulsion used to prepare the explosive at mines. The victims first placed a cast booster attached with electric detonators with slurry into 32 holes. These holes have a depth of four meters each on an average. The incident took place when the workers were filling the 33rd hole.
Another five workers, working close to the blast site, escaped as they had gone to fetch water, reported ToI.
The Director-General of Mines Safety (DGMS), under the Union Labour Ministry, has undertaken an investigation. An official was quoted by the paper as saying that it was the norm for workers to place the explosives in the morning and undertake blasting at the end of the shift at 3 pm. However, the blast took place when the holes were being prepped for the explosion.
Meanwhile, various trade union leaders called on the injured at the hospital and demanded that Singareni Collieries pay compensation of Rs 1 crore each to the families of the deceased and Rs 50 lakh each to the injured.
The Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL) is a government-run coal mining company, jointly owned by the Telangana and the Central governments on a 51:49 equity basis. Singareni Collieries are reportedly investigating the sequence of events that led to the accident and are yet to issue a statement.
Singareni Collieries has 18 open cast and 27 underground mines in Telangana and nearly 49,000 workers work in these mines.