At least ten persons were killed and five injured when a coal dump of the Mahanadi Coalfields Limited caved in near an open cast mine in Odisha's Sundargarh district today.
"Bodies of ten persons have so far been recovered and five persons rescued from the site at the Kulda open cast Basundhara-Garjanbahal coal mine area," a MCL spokesman said.
Sundargarh Superintendent of Police Sanjeev Arora, who was at the spot during the rescue operation, did not rule out increase in the number of casualties as some more people were suspected to be trapped under the debris.
The injured were admitted to hospital, he said. The search and rescue operation would resume tomorrow morning in the presence of villagers, MCL sources said. The incident took place when some people from nearby villages were collecting coal from the overburdened dump yard located near the mining area, an MCL spokesman said.
Some of them were buried when a portion of the coal dump suddenly collapsed, probably due to heavy rains that lashed the area yesterday, he said, adding search and rescue operation was immediately launched at the site.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik ordered a probe by the local Revenue Divisional Commissioner.
The MCL and the Odisha government separately announced ex-gratia of Rs 3 lakh and Rs 2 lakh respectively to the next of kin of the dead.
The MCL also sanctioned Rs 10,000 each for the victim's family members for the funeral. It was also providing the medical expenditure for the injured, the spokesman said.
Many residents of the area scoured for coal in the dump yard.
Entry of people to this area, located outside the mining zone, was illegal and there were notice boards warning about it, the spokesman added.