Another mining tragedy

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THE mine safety crisis continues in our country. In yet another unfortunate incident, an explosion in a coal-mine in Balochistan claimed the life of six miners.

According to officials they were amongst the eight miners trapped about 1,000 feet underground when accumulating methane gas exploded at the coalfield in Marwar area.

Last year, 102 coal miners were killed in Balochistan in seventy two different incidents.

According to the Pakistan Central Labour Federation, about 200 workers are killed in mining accidents every year in the country.

This situation shows the absence of proper safety measures in the coal mines.

Those working both inside and outside of mines are vulnerable to accidents.

Regardless of technological advancements around the world, coal-mine operators and owners here do not want to budge from their dangerous, outdated methods of mining.

Unfortunately, a large number of coal mines are operated informally by small or large mafias who use their influence to keep out government safety inspectors and avoid giving mandatory compensation to workers’ families in case of injury or death.

The question is for how long we will allow these tragedies to continue? Time has come to take a stern action against the owners of coal mines not adhering to the safety measures as per the law.

Owners and contractors of mines avoid buying methane gas detectors and other safety equipment to save money, but their negligence is causing the death of a large number of colliers.

Such mines should be closed until they do the needful for the safety and welfare of their workers who should also be given proper training to cope with any untoward situation.

The absence of rescue and escape routes and absence of emergency rescue systems in the coal-mines result in the death of trapped miners.

Therefore, an organised coal mine emergency rescue plan should be prepared to combat accidents in coal mines.

Pakistan has huge mineral resources potential, but the contribution of minerals to the gross domestic product is not commensurate with its potential.

The main reasons for the unregulated nature of the mining sector are poor organizational structure, inadequate implementation of legislation, insufficient investment and lack of technology.

There is a need to pay attention towards regulating this sector to exploit its true potential.

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