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Midnapore: Even before the Meghalaya coal mine tragedy could settle down, at least three people have died in a coal mine mishap in Bengal’s Bankura district.

This has happened today in an abandoned open-cast coal mine at Bagulia under Barjora police station area.

Central PSU Damodar Valley Corporation once carried out extensive mining in this coal mine but suspended the operations a few years ago.

In 2015, West Bengal Power Development Corporation acquired it and yet, it still remains in an abandoned state.

People from nearby areas have been illegally extracting coal from this defunct open-cast mine for the last few years. They sell the coal at low cost in adjacent towns.

Similarly, some villagers were lifting coal from the mine today when a portion of it caved in. They got buried under the debris.

On getting wind of this, other villagers rushed in and alerted Barjora police station. Together with police, the villagers launched a rescue operation and could retrieve three dead bodies until late afternoon.

The deceased include two men and a woman. According to the villagers, one more woman is missing and she is feared buried under the debris.