MARGHERITA, July 28: A 20-year-old manual worker, identified as Subham Das, succumbed to a landslide at the Tinsukia district’s Tirap Colliery located near Margherita. The incident took place on Tuesday night. Reportedly, despite bad weather conditions, Das was forced to carry illegally mined coal to the coke bhatta situated at the Ledo 6 number line under Tirap Colliery (NEC). Allegedly, he was engaged by Paban Tanti and Babu, both residents of Ledo localities.
Subham Das was the only son of Tapan Das who is a daily wage labourer and a resident of 1 Number Coal para, Ledo which falls under Ledo Gaon Panchayat of 124 No Margherita constituency of Tinsukia district.
It is alleged that though Subham Das succumbed to the sudden landslide, his body was not taken for police verification. Apparently, post mortem was also not conducted as per medical procedure as is usually done against a body. It was further alleged that the coal traders – Paban Tanti and Babu threatened the deceased family members to remain silent and forced to cremate the body at Tikak Colliery Crematorium on Tuesday midnight itself around 2 am.
Talking to The Hills Times, Tapan Das, father of the deceased said, “I was threatened by coal trader Paban Tanti and Babu to keep silent and not lodge an FIR at the police station which otherwise they warned me of dire consequences.”
Under North Eastern CoalFields, there are six collieries – Namdang, Baragolai, Tikak, Ledo, Tirap and Tipong Collieries. Present only Tikak Colliery is functional and opened for mining in the entire Margherita area. It is alleged that in various collieries located at the Patkai hills of the NEC, more than 8 to 10 workers died due to lack of safety measures and difficult working conditions. However, accidental deaths of the laborers are not reported due to certain reasons best known to the coal traders.
As such, on Wednesday, four coal mining workers engaged at the Tirap Colliery received severe burn injuries due to a gas explosion in which a worker died. The three workers are still battling for their lives at Margherita hospital.