Mines Area News
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Rs 6358 Crore balm ready for singed Jharia Coal Mines (Jharkhand)
Residents Living Above Century Old Mine Fires To Be Shifted

Wednesday 07th of May 2008: The Jharkhand government and Coal India Limited (CIL) are preparing a rehabilitation package for 67,000 families to shift them from the Jharia mine area where fires has been raging below the ground for almost a century.

Jharia is in Dhanbad district, around 270 km from state capital Ranchi. It has huge deposits of coal, under the control of Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL).

According to BCCL officials, in Jharia 70 major mine fires have been raging underground in an area of around 400 sq km.

The BCCL officials have said the company has lost 37 million tonnes of coal worth Rs.30 billion due to the fires.

The fires have made the earth's surface unstable and dangerous to live on. Cave-ins are frequent. Over a dozen houses have been destroyed and at least 30 people killed over the years.

According to experts, 1,000 million tonnes of coal are still available in the Jharia mines, but they can be extracted only when people are shifted out and efforts made to extinguish the fires.

Jharia mines have been operational since 1896. The fires that started soon after spread in the 1970s.

'We have almost completed the rehabilitation package,' said Jay Shankar Tewary, state mines and geology secretary. 'Around Rs.4,000 crore (Rs.40 billion) will be spent in the next ten years in shifting of people from the mine fire area and rehabilitating them to safe places.'

According to officials, CIL - the parent company of BCCL - will pay Rs.25 billion for the rehabilitation, and the rest will be shared by the state government and funds generated from the coal conservation and development fund.

The state government officials said 23,000 of the 67,000 families staying in the danger zone do not have any documents proving their rights to the plots on which they live. 'The rehabilitation package will deal with both legal and illegal landholders, but their packages will be different,' they said.

Earlier rehabilitation packages were not accepted by the residents of Jharia. On many occasions, they held demonstrations seeking adoption of scientific methods to extinguish the fires without shifting them.

newspostindia. com/report- 53055

Rs 6358cr rehab package to save Jharia

Ranchi, May 7: The state government today approved a rehabilitation package drafted by Coal India Ltd (CIL) for around 67,000 families, paving the way for evacuating Jharia where an underground fire has been raging for over 90 years.

After high-level meeting chaired by chief secretary A.K. Basu, CIL chairman Partho Bhattacharya said the package would be worth Rs 6,358 crore, 50 per cent of which would be contributed by CIL.

As reported by The Telegraph yesterday, the package involved the relocation of 67,000 families to a safe zone after the creation of adequate infrastructure. It is part of the three-phased Jharia Action Plan which would include dousing the underground fire and relocating highways and railway tracks passing over the Jharia coalfields.

According to sources, the package would now be okayed by the state cabinet before being sent to the Centre.

At today's meeting, the state government relented to the CIL plea of approving the 2004 master plan — modified in 2006 — instead of insisting on incorporating the favourable components of the national R&R policy. "Since we are not opening any new mine, the national R&R policy should not come into the picture," Bhattacharya said.

Among the others who attended the meeting included state mines and geology secretary Jaishankar Tiwary, BCCL chairman and managing director A.K. Pal, North Chhotanagpur commissioner B.K. Tripathy and Dhanbad deputy commissioner Ajay Kumar Singh.

All agreed that the Jharkhand Rehabilitation Development Authority would execute the package. The authority, headed by the North Chhotanagpur commissioner, would acquire land to relocate oustees.

As for the socio-economic survey of the area, Singh was asked to look for a new agency to replace the Central Mining Research Institute that had been involved in the job earlier.

Bhattacharya said that the decision to finalise the package was significant for both the mining industry as well as the people of Jharia who have been risking their lives by braving the underground fire that has been raging since 1916. "The state government has urged us to open a training institute so that local boys would be employable in the upcoming mining industries," he pointed out.

Bhattacharya clarified that fire fighting would begin only after evacuating the area — relocation sites had been identified north of Jharia.

According to the package, the oustees would get houses and compensation. Besides, they would get minimum agricultural wages for 500 days. Unauthorised homeowners would have the option of getting either a house or land in lieu of their houses

telegraphindia. com/1080508/ jsp/frontpage/ story_9241320. jsp

Balm ready for singed Jharia - Meet to finalise rehab plan for 67000

Ranchi, May 6: The state government is ready with a rehabilitation package for over 60,000 families who would have to be shifted out of Jharia where an underground fire, raging since 1916, is estimated to have consumed 37 million tonnes of high grade coking coal valued at Rs 3,000 crore.

Acting in tandem with Coal India Limited (CIL), the Madhu Koda government is finally ready with the Rs 4,000-crore package egged on as it was by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh no less during his recent Bokaro visit.

State mines and geology secretary Jaishankar Tiwary told The Telegraph that 67,000 families would have to be shifted to a safe zone. "We will have to declare the zone as unsafe before we begin the relocation," he said.

Implementation of the Jharia Action Plan would be finalised tomorrow at a meeting between chief secretary A.K. Basu and CIL chairman Partho Bhattacharya. The chairman and managing director of Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL), which owns the raging mines, would also be present.

"We want CIL to agree to it before we get a cabinet approval for our proposal," Tiwary maintained.

According to Tiwary, there were three components to the action plan — douse the underground fire, shift the affected families, and thirdly, relocate the highways, and railway tracks that pass over the Jharia coalfields.

The state government, the mines secretary pointed out, was asked to relocate only those who weren't employees of BCCL. "We have identified 67,000 families, 23,000 of them are unauthorised landholders. Besides, there are 658 public buildings, like schools, dharamshalas among others, which have to be relocated," he said.

The rehabilitation package, BCCL's original proposal reworked in the light of the new national R&R policy, and the action plan would be implemented through the Jharia rehabilitation development authority headed by the North Chhotanagpur commissioner.

Around Rs 4,000 crore would have to be spent over the next 10 years. While CIL would contribute Rs 2,500 crore, the rest would come from coal conservation and development fund.

One of the issues that would be discussed tomorrow was the quantum of relief. In its original proposal for the oustees, BCCL sought daily wages for each of them for the next two years, creation of adequate infrastructure facilities at the new habitations, vocational training and adequate compensation.

"BCCL wants to stick to the old proposals," said Tiwary. "However, we are telling them to make a one-time payment to every oustee so that they could get some capital to begin a new venture, he added.

telegraphindia. com/1080507/ jsp/frontpage/ story_9237065. jsp

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