Three coal miners were killed in an illegal rat hole mine at Ledo in Tinsukia district located along the Assam-Arunachal border on Sunday night.
Confirming the incident, Tinsukia superintendent of police Debojit Deuri said that the police has so far arrested five persons following the incident.
He added that inhalation of poisonous gas like methane is suspected to have caused the coal miners’ death.
The dead miners have been identified as Sahidul Islam, Hussain Ali (both from Bongaigaon district), and Hasmat Ali (Goalpara district) all below the age of thirty years.
“The rat hole mine was being run illegally in a remote hilltop. The incident took place at around 8.30 pm on Sunday when the miners entered the mine to extract coal. We suspect there was leakage of poisonous gas like methane inside the mine causing their deaths. We have arrested five persons as they were trying to bury the bodies and hush up the incident. We will take stringent action against any such illegal coal mining activities. The postmortem will be done on the bodies before they are handed over to the respective families.”
Sources said the illegal rat hole mine along with several others is being run by one David Naga and the three miners were brought to work by one Joynal Ali who acted as the supplier of workers.
“Illegal rat hole mines have been mushrooming in Margherita and Ledo area of Tinsukia district. The coal smugglers in a very organized way ran the whole nexus by managing everyone in the region. Rat hole mining has been completely banned but still, it has been operated in some areas of the region,” said a source.
He further added, “The coal smugglers of Ledo, Margherita area are running the whole nexus openly but still nobody can’t do anything to them because they are running the whole illegal business under the patronage of politicians,”.
“Recently, many coal miners died while procuring illegal coal from coalfields. But the coal smugglers hide the facts by managing everyone. Shubam Das, a youth of Margherita died while procuring coal illegally from coalfields. But after his death, his body was secretly cremated. The coal smugglers didn’t want to spread the truth and managed everyone,” the source added