KARACHI: Over 16,000 mine workers’ lives remain at risk due to accidents that frequently happen during mining at around 1,230 coal mines in Lakhra and Jhimpir.

Sources told Dawn that there were around 12,000 such labourers engaged by more than 80 companies at 910 coal mines at the Lakhra coal fields and around 4,000 at 320 coal mines hired by 50 companies at Jhimpir mines.

Speaking to Dawn, Energy Minister Imtiaz Ahmed Sheikh said on Saturday that the provincial government had decided to introduce an insurance facility to provide complete coverage for the medical treatment of the miners who would suffer injuries in such incidents.

He said that an agreement had recently been signed with an insurance company for the health coverage of the Lakhra coal mines’ workers. “Such facility will also be provided to labourers of the Jhimpir mines,” he added.

The minister said the health insurance facility was being introduced as per the vision of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.

He said the Sindh government was willing to extend health insurance coverage to the labourers associated with all conventional mining sites across the province.

“The leases granted to those companies’ owners would be cancelled who would fail to ensure safety and welfare of their workers,” he said.

Sindh Lakhra Coal Mining Company CEO Khadim Hussain Channa has, meanwhile, said that all necessary emergency relief and rescue services, including a dispensary and ambulance, are available at the mining site for the miners who get injured in accidents during the mining process.

He said that the insurance facility would also cover compensation for accidental deaths.

Published in Dawn, March 27th, 2022

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