Angul: Panic gripped locals after a 50 feet deep and 5 feet wide sinkhole was found on a farmland at Telisahi village under Deulabeda in Angul district on Wednesday.
Some locals spotted the massive sinkhole on the farmland of one Akshaya Kumar Sahoo early in the morning and as the news started to spread, people kept gathering at the spot.
Attributing the incident to alleged improper sand filling of underlying mines by Mahanadi Coalfield Limited (MCL), the locals later blocked the Dera-Handidhua road disrupting traffic.
Police and MCL officials soon reached the spot to take stock of the situation and tried to pacify the protesters, who besides immediate sand filling, demanded proper rehabilitation of the local residents.
The area has now been sealed and people warned against venturing into the spot.
The coal company is yet to issue a statement.
Incidents of subsidence have been occurring regularly in Talcher or ‘coal town’ over the past 38 years. In 2014, a big cavity appeared in the middle of a crowded locality near the Sai temple. Four years later, a similar incident was reported from two houses in the town. A portion of land measuring about 5 feet in length and 6 feet in width had suddenly caved in inside the house of one Shanti Bai and later stretched to her neighbours house on December 5, 2018. A day after Angul residents observed 12-hour bandh, the then Union Coal Minister Piyush Goyal had ordered a probe into the incidents of land subsidence.
In 2007, the director general of Mines Safety had declared four villages, Atharpa, Remuan, Koilunda and parts of Talcher township, as ‘no construction zones’.