Four miners of Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) were killed in an accident involving an underground mine roof collapse in Telangana's Mancherial district on Wednesday, November 10.
The incident occurred in the Srirampur area at around 10:30 am when miners were working the first shift. The four workers are identified as Krishna Reddy, 59, Lakshmaiah, 60, Chandrashekhar, and Narasimha Raju, 30.
The four deceased workers were working on making the particular section of the mine safer "after blasting that extended the mine deeper into the ground" when the roof suddenly collapsed.
Rescue workers faced an uphill task to remove the rubble after the collapse and employed heavy-duty airbags to lift the debris and create a passage to reach the bodies.
"All four were completely crushed as around a 30 feet section of the roof collapsed on them. The collapsed material was nearly like a pyramid," a source told Deccan Chronicle.
A similar incident had taken place in April this year when "two workers were killed after a roof collapsed at an underground coal mine in Kakatiya Khani (KTK), a group of mines operated by the SCCL." In October 2020, Naveen, a 28-year-old coal-miner working in the SCCL, had also died in a roof collapse incident in Vakilpalli underground mine in Ramagundam.
Union leaders have called out the concerned senior officials for their negligence as they didn't take any action despite being informed about the roof's condition a month ago. They demanded that the concerned officials be booked for a case of murder for letting the incident happen.
"This accident is a clear result of total neglect of safety measures by SCCL management, which has been solely focused on production which is given top priority over everything else," Kengarla Mallaiah, former president of the Telangana Boggu Ganula Karmika Samakhya, said.
"Ten coal miners have been killed so far just this year in Singareni mines," he added.
N Sridhar, the SCCL chairman and managing director, announced compensation and expressed condolences to the workers' families. He also ordered an inquiry into the accident, highlighting that action would be taken against officials responsible for the accident.
In 2019, an Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) of the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change had pulled up SCCL for "excess mining at its various coal mines".
The EAC had said that excess mining was "taking place in the underground coal mine that was the scene of Wednesday's accident.". However, the SCCL management had subsequently acquired approval for increased production from the mine.