INDIACSR News Network
The Government has conducted various studies to know the cause of fire and subsidence of area in and around Jharia Coalfields from time to time. In January, 1976 a committee under Chairmanship of Joint Secretary, Department of Coal and Ministry of Energy was constituted to examine the safety in Nationalised coal mines and the committee made certain recommendations for measures to control danger due to subsidence. Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS) had also identified a number of areas which required attention due to problems of fire and subsidence. A World Bank funded project namely Jharia Mine Fire Control Technical Assistance Project was also taken up to address the issue of fire control.
In December, 1996 Government of India had constituted a High Power Committee under the Chairmanship of the then Secretary (Coal) with other members from the Govt of Bihar & West Bengal, Planning Commission, DGMS, Ministry of Labour, Chairman CIL, CMDs of ECL, BCCL & CMPDI with Director (Tech), MOC as member secretary to review the problem of fire & subsidence in Jharia and Raniganj coalfields and suggest measures to deal with problems of existing habitation on subsidence/fire prone areas. Based on the recommendations of the Committee a Master Plan was prepared to address fire problems, subsidence, rehabilitation and diversion of surface infrastructure from endangered areas.
Subsequently, Government has approved the Master Plan in August, 2009 for addressing the issues of fire, subsidence, rehabilitation and diversion of surface infrastructure in Jharia Coalfields (JCF) and Raniganj Coalfields (RCF) for an outlay of Rs.7112.11 crores for JCF and Rs.2661.73 crores for RCF for implementation in 12/10 years respectively.
This was informed by Pratik Prakashbapu Patil, Minister of State in the Ministry of Coal while replying a written question in Rajya Sabha on August 13, 2012.
The Minister added that during the last five years, there was one incidence that occurred in Sendra Basjora OC mine of BCCL in which three lives were lost due to sudden slide of hot material from 1st OB bench. No property loss has been reported.
Mr. Patil said that the Government has approved a Master Plan to address the issue of fire, subsidence, rehabilitation and diversion of surface infrastructure. Jharia Rehabilitation Development Authority (JRDA) has been identified as the implementing agency for rehabilitation of people from the affected areas of JCF. Out of 595 sites demographic surveys in 324 sites have been completed. 2352 houses have been completed for shifting people from endangered areas to Belgaria Township and 1132 families have been shifted. BCCL with the approval of Ministry of Coal has issued NoC to transfer 849.68 acre land belonging to them in non coal bearing area and 86.44 acres of land at Bhuli township to JRDA for taking up construction of houses for rehabilitation.