Syed Ali Shah:
“None feels our pain”, Habibullah, a coal miner who appeared to be in his early 30s narrated his troubles. In dry cold weather and blowing dust of coal, Habibullah was busy loading trucks of coal in Quetta’s Spin Karez, one of the eastern outskirts. “We work here in this coal depot from dawn to dusk”, Habibullah said. Because of the flying coal dust, the faces of the coal miners cannot be recognized.
It was very difficult for us to breathe flying coal dust. Nevertheless, the hapless coal miners were engaged in unloading the truck. “Over 100kgs of coal in this one bag”, Habibullah said. The miners were carrying over 100kgs of bags full of coal on their shoulders and throwing them in trucks.
No basic health unit near coal depot
Hundreds of trucks loaded with coal depart from Quetta and other parts of Balochistan for Punjab province for running factories and industries. The government in general and the mines and mineral department, in particular, have not been able to establish a basic health unit near the coal depot to make sure provision of timely treatment to the miners.
Laborers engaged in coal mining, loading, and downloading are facing various diseases. “Lungs problem is common among the coal miners”, Dr. Shireen Khan, a well-known chest specialist told Daily Quetta Voice. He said tuberculosis was also common among coal miners and the laborers associated with this profession.
Hazardous working conditions claiming precious human lives
“I daily earn around Rs.2000”, Abdul Wahab, another coal miner intervened while the author was talking to Habibullah. “No medical treatment when we get ill”, Mr. Wahab said.
Hazardous working conditions inside coal mines of Balochistan have claimed scores of precious human lives during the last few years. The provincial government is yet to implement the safety conditions inside the coal mines of Balochistan to avoid the occurrence of untoward incidents.
“Government has to ensure implementation of safety rules as per 1923 mines act”, Pir Muhammad Khan Kakar, the central leader of Pakistan Mines Association said. He said the mine owners were minting money at the cost of the lives of coal miners.