11 miners trapped in Quetta coal mine for over 20 hours, rescue operation underway

A rescue operation to recover 11 miners, who have been trapped in a coal mine in Quetta district’s Degari area for over 20 hours, is still underway without success, media reported.

The miners were trapped on Sunday when poisonous gas accumulated in the mine that is thousands of feet deep. The Minister of Mines and Minerals Development Balochistan, Shafqat Fayyaz, said that the authorities were “trying [their] level best” to recover the coal workers.

Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Alyani has also taken notice of the matter and directed the Provincial Disaster Management Authority to deploy its technical team and ensure the safe recovery of the workers, provincial government spokesperson Liaquat Shahwani told media.

Balochistan’s Labour Federation expressed dissatisfaction with the government’s efforts. Peer Muhammad Kakar, a member of the body, said: “Neither the government nor the mine owners are bothered about the plight of the hapless miners. The administration is still clueless about the trapped miners even though 24 hours have passed [since the workers were trapped].”

Poor working conditions inside coal mines in Balochistan claim the lives of miners on an almost daily basis in Harnai, Sowrange, Dukki, Mach and other parts of the province, but often go unreported.

Coal mining is considered much more hazardous than hard rock mining due to flat-lying rock strata, generally incompetent rock, leakage or explosion of poisonous gases and coal dust, collapsing of mine stopes or general mechanical errors from improper use and malfunctioning of mining equipment.

According to the Pakistan Central Mines Labour Federation (PCMLF), between 100 and 200 labourers die on average in coal mine accidents every year.