Miners in Darra Adamkhel in risky business to earn livelihood

Shahzeb Afridi

DARRA ADAMKHEL: The tribal area of Darra Adamkhel possesses rich coal resources and there are hundreds of coalmines in the area in which mostly the Pakhtun miners from Shangla and Swat are employed.

The coalminers work under the supervision of a contractor. Most of the coalmines lack basic facilities and miners work under extremely dangerous and unhealthy conditions.

Sixty-year-old Abdul Hamd works in a coalmine in Zarghunkhel village in Darra Adamkhel for the last four years. He told TNN that he works 1,600 feet deep into the mine and the contractor pays him according to per ton extraction of coal. He says his daily income revolves around Rs1,200-1,300. He says about 20 people from Zarghunkhel village are working in the coalmine of the village. He says on his recommendation, the contractor has also employed six more members from his family in the said coalmine.

Abdul Hamd says working is a coalmine is not an easy thing, but he had to move to Darra Adamkhel in search of livelihood. He said the coalmine in Zarghunkhel lacks facilities and they work there under very dangerous circumstances. He says the miners remain busy in their work throughout the day in very difficult circumstances.

“Two months ago, three of our colleagues fainted while working in the coalmine due to shortage of oxygen and they were shifted to hospital,” he told TNN. He explained that although the contractor has provided them oxygen machine, but that sometimes stop working due to overuse.

Faheem Khan, owner of the coalmine in Zarghunkhel, told TNN that he has provided all the necessary equipment including gloves, helmets, shoes, torches, masks and separate clothes to the workers to ensure their safety. However, he said, some miners don’t use this equipment and risk their safety. He says he has divided the work into his coalmine into two shifts of eight to 10 hours.

Faheem Khan says the owner of the coalmine provides Rs500,000 compensation to the family in case any worker dies during work, and he also bears medical treatment expenses of the injured and fainted workers. He says some workers voluntarily work for over-time for which they are paid accordingly.

Several mishaps happen in the coalmines in KP and Balochistan from time to time in which workers lose their lives. Most of the victims in mishaps in KP coalmines hail from Shangla.

You can also watch this video on coal mines in Darra Adam Khel.