Bhubaneswar, August 17 (LocalWire): Panic has gripped the locals in Talcher after a well in the city caved in due to underground coal mining by public sector Mahanadi Coalfield Limited (MCL).
According to the available information, a well at the ward no-13 of the coal town had suddenly developed cracks and parts of it collapsed later.
Panic-stricken locals have sent a petition to the civil administration seeking its intervention to ensure citizen safety against the mining-induced threat in the area.
“The extraction of coal from mines results in the void under the surface. As per mining safety norms, it’s mandatory on part of the mining companies to fill up the voids at the earliest. But the state-run PSU has left the voids unfilled, thus exposing the region to subsidence,” Ranjit Mohapatra, convenor of a Talcher-based organisation fighting for the cause of mining-affected people, said.
The subsidence that took place is not a stray case. As many as 16 cases of subsidence have occurred in the coal town, including the one in December last. Luckily none of them was on a large scale.
“People here are living life on the edge as underground coal mining pose an imminent threat to the township due to crumbling under the void triggered by the coal extraction. It’s not the ‘bijli, sadak, pani’ and other basic issues of daily life that affect the people here. The very existence of the urban settlement in central Odisha is at stake with mining void largely lying unfilled,” he alleged.
It is also important to note that despite Talcher township being notified as a ‘no construction zone’, building construction continues unabated in the vulnerable zones.
“The area has been identified as earthquake-prone zone and a mild tremor might wipe out the township at one go. The sole solution to save the township and its people is to fill the underground void on a war-footing,” Mohapatra said.
When contacted by LocalWire, both the civil administration and the MCL authorities refused to comment on the matter and what they were doing to mitigate the situation.