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National Highway-33 caves in due to underground
mine fire in Jharkhand

     Ramgarh (Jharkhand): A vast portion of National Highway-33 connecting Ranchi with Patna, caved-in near Kuju in Ramgarh district of Jharkhand on Monday. In incident has been attributed to a fire that has been raging from the underground coal mines in the vicinity since Sunday, forcing the district administration and police officials to stop all vehicular traffic on the highway. "Early morning at four, a portion of National Highway-33 got caved in. We have blocked the highway so that nobody can inadvertently enter here. The district administration and police officials have cordoned off the area with red cord barring any traffic inflow," said B K Singh, General Manager of Central Coal Fields Limited (CCL). The underground mine fire was so intense that it created a deep crater on the highway disrupting the traffic and causing panic among the people residing in the nearby villages. Meanwhile, families from these villages have been asked to vacate their homes and move on to some safer place until the fire is completely doused off. There are around 52 homes in the surrounding villages. "The situation is really worse. We are residing in this village for the past 30-40 years. CCI (Central Coal Fields Limited) was looking after it but they are unable to do anything. Even government can't do anything. We have been given two days to vacate the village," said Santosh Kumar, a resident of a village near Kuju. The coal mine fire has spread to the entire underground area and the solid coal base within the earth has got reduced to ashes and now slowly cracks have started appearing on the surface of the earth.
-August 10, 2009

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