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Pakistan: Four killed, one injured in coal mine explosion

Author: Peoples Dispatch, Newsclick, Pakistan, Published on: 8 January 2019

"Four killed in Pakistan coal mine explosion", 4 January 2019

A blast in the Chamalang coal mines in Loralai district in Balochistan on January 2 led to the death of 4 miners and caused critical injuries to 1...[T]he explosion was a result of gas filling the mine while the workers were extracting coal...

...The incident occurred days after the [Pakistan Central Mines Labour Federation (PCMLF)] and the All Pakistan Labour Federation (APLF) staged a demonstration and a rally in front of the Quetta Press Club to protest government negligence and abysmal working conditions in the mines. These conditions have led to nearly 120 deaths and injuries to nearly 117 workers in the past few months. According to estimates made by the PCMLF, mine-related accidents lead to nearly 100-200 deaths every year.

...[A] large number of mines are not registered with the government. As a result, those working in these mines are not included in government data and are often unable to avail medical and wage benefits. Miners usually begin work at the age of 13 and continue till they are about 30 years old, when they are forced into unemployment due to chronic respiratory illnesses, tuberculosis, loss of eyesight, injuries, etc. caused due to the hazardous working conditions...

...There has been a sustained demand for improved regulations and implementation of existing laws. An application was filed in the Pakistani Supreme Court in September, urging that a judicial inquiry be undertaken into the working conditions in the mines in Balochistan...The fatalities reported in Balochistan area are part of a distressing trend in South Asia...Rescue efforts are underway for a group of 15 miners who have been stuck in a collapsed ‘rat-hole’ coal mine...[in the State of Meghalaya in India] for around 20 days...

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