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Underground fire close to Ranchi-Patna highway

Last Updated: Thursday, July 23, 2009 - 15:57

Ranchi: Traffic on the National Highway-33, connecting Ranchi to Patna, is being diverted to avert any accident as a raging fire in a coal mine has
threatened a section of the road, officials said on Thursday.

The fire in the closed mines of Central Coalfield Limited (CCL) near Kuju of Ramgarh district has drawn close to the national highway, posing a threat to a three-km-long stretch. Smoke emanating from the underground fire is clearly visible near the highway.

The police have posted a team to keep close watch on the highway. Everyday, thousands of vehicles use the highway which connects the Jharkhand and Bihar capitals via Hazaribagh and Koderma.

"We will soon start work on a diversion of the national highway. The necessary process has been initiated. The diversion could be completed in 10 to 15 days," Arun Kumar Sinha, deputy commissioner of Ramgarh, told reporters.

The mine fire was detected a month ago.

"A major tragedy could place if the national highway is not closed immediately. During rainy season, the road condition worsens and the underground mine fire could lead to subsidence of the national highway," a CCL official told IANS.

A team of experts including officials of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) visited the highway Wednesday. CCL authorities are trying to douse the fire without disrupting traffic.


First Published: Thursday, July 23, 2009 - 15:57
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