Vakeel Hasan, the leader of the rat-hole mining rescue team, vividly recalls the poignant moment when his team made contact with the trapped workers in the Silkyara tunnel on the evening of November 28. The rescue, akin to offering water to a person dying of thirst, fulfilled their commitment, bringing all 41 workers out unharmed after 17 days.
Innovative “Chuha Boring” Technique: Rat-Hole Miners’ Dedication
Describing their unconventional approach, Hasan explains the “chuha boring” technique – inspired by how rats dig through soil. The team manually drilled the final 18 meters, surpassing the initial goal of 15 meters. Despite challenges such as stones, pipes, and iron rods, the rat-hole miners persevered, creating a path for a pipe that led to the successful evacuation.
Overwhelming Gratitude: Love Showered by Rescued Workers
Munna, Vakeel Hasan’s partner, shares the emotional response of the trapped workers. Overwhelmed with relief, the workers showered the rescuers with love upon their first encounter. Expressing their gratitude, the labourers offered everything, from their lives to money and even likened Hasan to a godly figure.
Rat-Hole Mining: Once Legal, Now a Hazardous Coal Theft Technique
Ghulam Qadir, a retired mining engineer, sheds light on the history of rat-hole mining. Once legal, this technique has been banned due to its inherent hazards. Despite the ban, coal thieves persist using it, endangering lives and causing mine collapses.
The Dangers of Rat-Hole Mining: Coal Extraction and Safety Concerns
Qadir explains that rat-hole mining, prevalent in mines controlled by BCL and CCL, involves wider excavations for increased coal extraction. Lack of support systems often leads to mine collapses, resulting in fatalities. Modern safety measures like hydraulic jacks and roof stitching machines are now standard in mining practices.
Silkyara Tunnel: An Appropriately Executed Rat-Hole Mining Rescue
Qadir points out that rat-hole mining was appropriately utilised in the Silkyara tunnel rescue. The miners navigated a two-foot passage, using a pipe to ensure a safe evacuation. This successful operation is a testament to the miners’ skill and dedication in adversity.
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