Author: Biren Mukerjee

Biren Mukerjee was born in 1925 and passed out of the Indian School of Mines in 1947. After serving as mine manager at several collieries he became Junior Inspector of Mines with the Department of Mines Safety in 1954. Four years later he left to join a multinational company, leaving in 1977 to found a company to make flameproof machinery for underground coal mines. He has received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Indian School of Mines (2007) and Gold Medal for contributions to mining science from the Mining, Geological and Metallurgical Society of India (2011)

October 13, 2016 /

I would have missed its existence had I not seen her crawling along, pulling a wooden box on wheels loaded with lumps of coal. She was harnessed to the cart by means of a patch of linen strapped across her forehead. She was fair in complexion, wearing a short skirt, and her knees were heavily padded. I slowed down my car and turned to look. She was not alone! They were coming out of a hole in the side of the hill to my right. I noticed a thin outcrop of a coal seam running parallel to the road.
I was an Inspector of Mines, with the Department of Mines, Dhanbad, returning from Cherrapunji on my way to Shillong after an inspection of a limestone mine. It was in the year 1956.