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Home Crimes HRCP Report Exposes Safety Negligence in Dara Adam Khel Coal Mines

HRCP Report Exposes Safety Negligence in Dara Adam Khel Coal Mines

Officials revealed that the incident was precipitated by the accumulation of carbon monoxide gas within the coal mines of Dara Adam Khel, a region adjacent to Kohat district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

by Rifaqatullah Razarwal - 27 Mar, 2024 1644
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The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has unveiled a troubling investigation report shedding light on safety lapses in the coal mines of Dara Adam Khel. The report underscores a flagrant disregard for safety standards and protocols, contributing to the tragic deaths of three workers.

According to the HRCP's findings released on Tuesday, the three workers lost their lives on October 20, 2023, due to a fatal combination of inadequate protective gear and a lack of awareness regarding standard safety practices crucial for navigating the hazards of mining.

Officials revealed that the incident was precipitated by the accumulation of carbon monoxide gas within the coal mines of Dara Adam Khel, a region adjacent to Kohat district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. This buildup culminated in a devastating explosion, claiming the lives of the workers.

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During their fact-finding mission, HRCP officials also conducted assessments of other mines in Dara Adam Khel, unveiling a disturbing array of deficiencies. These included the absence of essential first aid provisions for workers, prolonged distances to medical facilities, and instances of unreported accidents. Moreover, the nearest hospital, besieged by chronic resource shortages, is situated so remotely from the mines that patients often face deteriorating health conditions before receiving treatment.

Akbar Khan, Vice Chairman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, condemned the systemic failures plaguing the coal mining industry, assigning blame to both governmental authorities and laborers alike. While acknowledging the existence of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mines Safety, Inspection, and Regulation Act 2019 aimed at safeguarding workers and providing compensation for injuries, Khan lamented the rampant malpractice prevalent during inspection visits, often characterized by extortion rather than ensuring worker safety.

Highlighting the perilous practice of overworking without adequate safety precautions, Khan emphasized the urgent need for regulatory reform and stringent enforcement of existing laws. He urged comprehensive site assessments by inspection teams before commencing mining operations, advocating for the provision of essential protective equipment and rigorous adherence to safety protocols.

Media reports indicate that while many mines in Dara Adam Khel are officially registered with the Department of Minerals and Natural Resources, numerous others operate without legal sanction, exposing workers to heightened risks. The majority of laborers in these coal mines hail from the Shangla district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where recurrent mining accidents have uprooted countless families.

According to data from the Coal Mines Workers Welfare Association (CMWA), a grassroots organization championing the rights and welfare of coal workers in Shangla district, the grim toll of such accidents has left 30,000 individuals dead and over 80,000 children orphaned, underscoring the urgent imperative for comprehensive reforms to safeguard the lives and livelihoods of coal miners in Pakistan.