As many as 200 miners were reportedly trapped underground in three coal mines in Burdwan district of West Bengal following a massive power failure caused by the the northern and eastern grids, affecting 20 states of the country.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said due to the power failure, the lifts were not operating, leaving the miners trapped inside.
"We are trying to rescue the coal miners. All efforts are on to resume power supplies. You need power supplies to run the lifts in the underground mines," Mamata told reporters in Kolkata.
The mines are operated by the government-owned Eastern Coalfields Ltd.
"We are waiting for the restoration of power to bring them up through the lifts, but there is no threat to their lives or any reason to panic," said Nildari Roy, a senior official at the mines' operator, Eastern Coalfields Limited.
There was no power in all of West Bengal, with the exception of some parts of the state capital, as the Eastern Grid collapsed suddenly, leading to trains being stranded and essential services being hit.
State Power Minister Manish Gupta said, “It is a big disaster… We have started the repair work. But normalcy can’t be restored before tonight as repair work will take at least 10-12 hours.”
Train services over South Eastern Railway and Eastern railway came to a stop. Long distance and express trains were stranded at various stations with services coming to a halt in the vital Sealdah and Howrah divisions, a railway spokesperson said. Large number of passengers were left clueless at the important stations.
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Updated Date: Jul 31, 2012 17:20:52 IST