PESHAWAR: Just two days after five miners lost their lives in two different incidents relating to coal mines in Khyber-Pakthunkhwa, another mine has caved in at Akhurwal area of Darra Adam hel with three miners are still trapped after one having been rescued and hospitalised. The rescued miner is in stable condition.
According to details, Khyber Top mine in the erstwhile frontier region Darra Adam Khel, caved in at around 11am in the morning. However, the news was supposedly stopped from being spread since there were speculations that the mining was being done illegally.
“Most of the mines are registered with the mines and minerals department but there are many where coal is being extracted illegally or you can term them unregistered mines,” Inam*, a resident of Akhurwal told The Express Tribune.
The 42-year old, who also belongs to the same industry and extracts coal from a registered mine, said that mining was being done illegally and this was why there were only locals and miners from other mines busy rescuing the trapped miners.
Dangerous business: Five miners die in two different coal-mine accidents
“Had it been a registered mine, the local administration would have received the information and would have immediately started rescue operation. But, since the mine owner fears legal action, the reports are being kept under the wraps,” Inam* said.
He added that mostly five to 10 miners extract coal at the mine, adding there was possibility of miners being trapped inside this Khyber Top mine.
District administration officers, however, stated that although this mining was not being done illegally, the protocols already shared by the Fata Development Authority (FDA) for all the miners were not being followed, adding that FDA was supposed to visit every mine after 30 days.
“There are some 257 coal mines across the sub-division and FDA is supposed to check if the miners followed safety protocols which in fact is different from the ground reality,” a senior official of the Kohat district administration told The Express Tribune.
Assistant Commissioner Sub-Division Darra Adam Khail Shayan, however, confirmed that the mine was legal and added that it was the FDA to see technical things.
“No, we can only take any action once there is something communicated to the district administration by the FDA since this is the FDA which deals with mining and in fact this is the FDA which leases out these coal mines,” Shayan told The Express Tribune. However, at the same time he confirmed that there were some four people inside the mine with one already recovered and other being recovered.
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Shayan said all the miners were in stable condition, adding that the deputy commissioner Kohat has issued fresh Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to be followed while mining in the area.
Earlier on Saturday, five miners died in two different coal mine incidents in Darra Adam Khel and district Nowshera.
The first incident took place at a mine in Zarghun Khel area of Darra Adam Khal, where miners were busy extracting coal when a gas explosion occurred inside the mine. Despite availability of ventilation system in mines, sometimes the mines are filled with Methane and when it comes into contact with heat, mostly spark during extracting coal, they explode.
In a similar incident, two miners died after a coal mine caved in within jurisdiction of Pabbi Police Station the same day, where according to SHO Muhammad Hanif, the incident took place in Jabba Khushk area of the district.
On September 12, nine miners were killed and three injured when the roof of a coal mine in another Darra Adam khel mine. Coal mine owner Ishaq Ahmad had claimed that the deaths occurred due to inhalation of poisonous gas. However, a member of the local administration said there was an explosion in the mine that might have caused its roof to cave in.
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