Two skeletons recovered two years after mine tragedy in Dhanbad’s Godda
These may be the skeletons of two of the five miners who remained buried following a mine disaster in the evening of December 29, 2016. On that day, altogether 23 miners, including the superviser of a private outsourced company running the Lalmatia operations, were buried alive under the rubble of overburden hills in the Lalmatia mines.
Two skeletons, in all likelihood the remains of trapped miners, came out of the rubble on Wednesday during overburden removal operation at the Lalmatia open cast mine, within Rajmahal colliery of Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) in Godda district. Post-mortem and DNA test would determine their identity.
These may be the skeletons of two of the five miners who remained buried following a mine disaster in the evening of December 29, 2016. On that day, altogether 23 miners, including the superviser of a private outsourced company running the Lalmatia operations, were buried alive under the rubble of overburden hills in the Lalmatia mines. The National Disaster Response Force team of Patna dug out 18 bodies in a week-long rescue operation. But five people could not be brought out, dead or alive — they were Parwez Alam (from Ramgarh in Jharkhand), Madhur Shyam Bhiwani (from Gujarat), Bhim Ram (from Madhya Pradesh), Gagan Singh (from Bhagalpur in Bihar), and Lalu Khan (from Madhya Pradesh).
Following the discovery of the two skeletons, executive magistrate Praveen Chaudhary said that they were sent for post-mortem to the Patliputra Medical College Hospital (PMCH) in Dhanbad. After that, the skeletons would be sent to Ranchi for a DNA test. Only on the basis of the DNA test reports could the identity be ascertained, he said.
Upon being informed that two skeletons had surfaced, Praveen Chaudhary reached the spot, along with Lalmatia police station in-charge Janardhan Singh; sub-divisional police officer R Mitra; Rajmahal colliery general manager and project officer DK Nayak; and personnel manager Rao Jadhav.
Relatives of Parwez Alam and Gagan Singh also reached Lalmatia mines on Thursday after getting information about the recovery of skeletons. But the district administration denied them access to the remains.
“On the basis of a shirt and a pen, one of the skeletons was believed to be that of Madhur Shyam Bhiwani of Gujarat. He was the superviser in the outsource company (running the mine) and always kept a pen with it,” said Randhir Singh, general secretary of Rashtriya Colliery Mazdoor Sangh (RCMS), ECL branch.
No compensation yet
The RCMS general secretary alleged that the Jharkhand government had betrayed the family members of deceased miners. The government had announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the family of each deceased miner. But, said Singh, even after more than two years, the family members of the missing five miners were still making the rounds of Godda district administration offices for compensation.
The relatives of the missing miners said that the government told them compensation would be paid only after the recovery of the bodies (which includes skeletal remains). “That’s why I have come here after hearing about the recovery,” said Shadab Alam, a relative of Parwez Alam.