Bhubaneswar, July 3 (IANS) Heavy equipment worth crores of rupees is lying abandoned in an underground mine of Coal India Limited (CIL) in Odisha that was permanently shut down last week over safety concerns, an official said Wednesday.
A salvage operation was launched last week to recover the equipment from the Hingir Rampur mine of CIL subsidiary Mahanadi Coal Fields Ltd (MCL) in Jharsuguda district, some 300 km from here.
"The officials engaged in the salvage work have been facing difficulties," MCL spokesperson Dikken Mehra told IANS.
"They have not been able to recover the equipment, which includes a side discharge loader (SDL) worth several crores (of rupees)," he said. SDL is used to collect coal and deliver it onto a chain conveyor in underground mines.
The salvage operations could be delayed as the mine is unsafe, Mehra added.
The MCL produced 108 million tonnes of coal in the last fiscal. The Hingir Rampur mine, one of the company's oldest, was producing about 180,000 tonne of high grade coal per annum.
A joint team of the company and the directorate general of mines-safety recently inspected the 107-year-old mine and found excess methane gas inside that is blamed for several deadly mining disasters in the past.
The team also found the roof and walls of the mine in a fragile condition. The mine was permanently shut down June 27 after it was declared unsafe.
The MCL expects to make up the loss by increasing the output from its other mines. About 630 workers at the Hingir Rampur mine would be absorbed in other mines of the company, the MCL spokesperson said.