Quetta: Over 130 labourers lost their lives and 110 others suffered serious injuries in incidents in coal mines in different areas of the country, including Balochistan, over the past nine months.
In most of the incidents, these unfortunate labourers were digging over 3,000-foot-deep in coal mines when they collapsed and they died from suffocation due to lack of oxygen, said Sultan Mohammad Kakar, secretary general of the Pakistan Central Mines Labour Federation, while talking to journalists on Friday.
He said that about 300,000 mine workers were employed in Balochistan. Mine areas in the province, including Chamalang, Luni, Harnai, Mach, Duki and Marwar, had more than 1,000 mines, he added.
He alleged that in many mine incidents in which workers lost their lives and suffered injuries this year in the province were caused by the negligence of the authorities concerned. In many cases, he added, miners lost their lives and suffered injuries because they did not have modern equipment and that adequate safety measures were not taken for them.
He said the government collected a huge revenue from coal mining, but it was a pity that when a worker lost his life in a mine incident his family was given only Rs200,000 as compensation money. He said the government should increase this amount to Rs500,000.
Mr Kakar said due to lack of safety measures, health facilities and non-availability of safe drinking water inside mines workers often suffered from some dangerous diseases, including asthma and kidney and liver complications.
He urged the government to implement the occupational safety and health measures to protect mine workers from incidents.
“We demand that the government should ratify ILO C-176 Safety and Health in Mine Convention and train unskilled workers,” Mr Kakar said.