SIX coal miners were trapped inside a mine in the Tor Ghar area of the Harnai district earlier this year after a methane gas blast. While three of them were rescued within a day, the three others remained trapped 1,300 feet below ground level for five days and were later rescued. But not everyone is so lucky.

Reports suggest that nearly 450 miners have died in several accidents across Balochistan over the last few years. The Harnai district, located in the north-east of Balochistan, is blessed with huge coal reserves. Coal mining in Harnai is a source of livelihood for people belonging to far-flung areas of the province and even neighbouring Afghanistan. Besides, the district shares a big chunk of its revenue with both provincial and federal governments.

Against this backdrop, it is unfortunate that the miners continue to lose their precious lives in various accidents amid outdated mining methods, ignorance or neglect of safety instructions, and, above all, government indifference. The government must address the issue, and arrest the perpetrators, otherwise deadly accidents would continue to snatch life after life.

Zafarullah Shah
Harnai

Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2022

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