“I am 57 years old, and a proud Singareni coal mine worker. I have lived in the coal region throughout my life and thirty-five of these years have been spent working in and around the mines.
Many of my friends work here, and we had an opportunity to study in the local school. We took up the work in the Yellandu coal mine region initially. I started my career in the floating pillar category in the room and pillar mining department.
With the experience, we were taken on as workers, where we served in the drilling and blasting departments until we were able to call ourselves miners. Today, I serve as a Mining Sirdar here.
I am only one of the thousands of workers you see on the mine every day. The muscles on my arms are no harder, and I may not look fit and healthy. You need not wonder why. Day in and day out, between the rising and the setting of the sun, I am in the underground working in extreme conditions. I have seen many unfortunate accidents happen inside the mines and also lost a few of my dear ones in the mining accidents.
Our daily life is not a pleasant one. There are harmful gases underneath and the powder, smoke, after-damp, all combine to bring furrows to our faces.
Even then, we are determined to serve with pride.
Although the benefits of coal are many, I must agree that coal mining is an inherently environment damaging and degrading activity.
Realising this, our company, Singareni Collieries (SCCL) launched several eco-friendly practices to mitigate the damage to the environment. To encourage social forestry, we plant thousands of saplings in the selected regions every year during the monsoon. Not only that, SCCL has installed air-conditioned facilities in the training and also modern mechanised operations to ensure workplace safety.
In the last three and half decades of my career, I have seen many highs and lows but what I am proud of is the spirit of our worker’s union who are always on the go despite the extreme conditions. This work is not for everyone – it’s for the few who dare to descend into the bowels of the earth to extract the energy-rich black gold!”
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