Quetta: Protest demonstration against the death of 13 workers in a coal mine in Harnai

Two days ago, an explosion in a coal mine in the Zard Alo area of Harnai district in Balochistan resulted in the death of 13 workers. On March 23, a protest demonstration was organized by the Red Workers Front and the Pakistan Workers Federation in front of the Quetta Press Club against this incident.

The protest demonstration was attended by representatives from the Pakistan Workers Federation, KESCO Labour Union, All Pakistan Clerks Association, and WASA Employees Union, along with members from the Red Workers Front and the Progressive Youth Alliance.

The protesters held various placards and banners with slogans against the Harnai tragedy while they also chanted vigorously in solidarity with the deceased miners and against those responsible for the incident.

Speakers at the protest mentioned that workers in the mining sector in Balochistan lose their lives to such incidents frequently.

In the backdrop of these events, the incompetent rulers, corrupt bureaucracy, coal mine owners, and contractors are only seen shedding crocodile tears while, on the other hand, they wait to fill their pockets as a result of these incidents.

It is noted that whenever such an incident occurs in the mining sector, other workers endeavor on their own to rescue their fellow workers, while the administration continuously lies and merely plays the role of spectators.

Last year, 51 accidents in the coal mines of Balochistan resulted in 69 miners losing their lives, while 29 were injured.

According to officials from the Department of Mineral Resources, 51 accidents in the coal mines of Mach, Duki, Shahrag, Chamalang, and Quetta in Balochistan resulted in 69 deaths and 29 injuries, with most deaths occurring due to explosions caused by the accumulation of methane gas. In 2022, more than 70 miners lost their lives in 55 accidents in the coal mines of Balochistan.

Mining in Balochistan is mostly conducted through the pillar and room method, which is the most dangerous method of mining and has been discontinued worldwide.

Campaigners and researchers have often emphasized the need to implement modern mining methods and provide personal protective equipment to miners, including masks, goggles, oxygen cylinders, and devices to detect gas levels.

PTUS demand immediate safety measures be taken for workers inside coal mines to prevent such tragic accidents in the future. Moreover, providing financial support to the families of miners who died in these accidents is a fundamental responsibility of the relevant coal mine company and the government.

Workers Memorial Day is observed globally on April 28th to commemorate those who lost their lives while working.

PTUS stand in complete solidarity with the struggling mine workers who are fighting daily economic battles yet enduring hard and unsafe workplace environments. Only a workplace union can ensure safe working conditions. PTUS will work with mineworkers across the region in organising them to get their right to safe workplaces.