(The writer is a Major General (Retd). Views are personal)
DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the author’s own.
a Major General (Retd) has shared his views here in this article, which has been published on 30th may 2020 on Economic Times.
He has shared many historic details about jharia and it’s coal business. We have to move on further and have to save the lives of Jharia’s peoples from it’s harmful effects. People who have earned money from this coal, now have to come further for them. We have spread positive awareness and talk mutually with the peoples of Jharia and give them a safe place to live. We have to keep them like our family members. They also do not want to live such lifestyles there. The first preference of the local and central leaders should be this to save people’s of jharia from this harmful effect.
The fire is still smouldering. People who are sitting in the safe place, who do not understand the feeling of people who has been living in this fire areas.
We do not have to play blame game, now it is the time when everyone should take steps on his/her level. The new government is very innovative and should take steps very soon.
Right now, again summers are rising and we can understand and feel the situation in coal fire areas where peoples are still living. We also have to think about their employment where peoples have been shifted in new jharia(Belgarhiya).
I am not the expert and scientist. The Government should take advice from them and take actions which is beneficial for all peoples and environment.
We have to learn the use of coals so that it do not increase pollution. Because pollution has been already increased in Jharia. Jharia has become the most polluted cities in India. You can write to me on my email(firstname.lastname@example.org) on the uses of coal. I will share in this website.
A fine sparkle of fire can lead to utter devastation in life and property, as well. Such is the enormous power of Fire. But there is a place in India which has been burning with massive flames for the past hundred years. Sounds Impossible.
Jharia coal mines in Dhanbad city of Jharkhand are the most prominent coal mines in India. They are well renowned for their production of “Coke.” Though the Britishers initially managed the mines, Gujarati people took over the control post the independence.
These mines are widespread in over 100 square miles of Area. And the underground flames were first experienced in 1916. And since these hazardous flames have remained untamed.
Jharia Coal mine is still burning?
Though the current government under the supervision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is making immense efforts to cease such grave concern, it would certainly cost India a huge economic crisis, which is quite sensitive at this moment of time.
It would cost a massive 1 billion dollars to evacuate the place and find the workers a new shelter to live and also to shut the untameable flames beneath the ground.
These lethal flames are now aggravating to more than 50 feet, which can certainly be felt by the workers or the nearby natives around the mines. But the question which arises in everyone’s mind is why was this grave-concern not ceased in its initial stages?
Is economy more important than the lives of the innocents? Is there no regard for human life? But these people have nowhere else to go as well and to manage the burden of their responsibilities, and it becomes inevitable for them to pick up their tools and work day in day out to satisfy the pangs in their stomachs. People are certainly living on the edge of the sword in Jharia Coal mines.
Jharia CoalField Underground Fire
Jharia underground fires have to lead to a certain blockage of coal, as well. It is estimated that 37 million tons of coal have succumbed to the brutal power of Flames.
Though it is not impossible to shut the flames down, certain measures can eventually lead to preventing the harmful effects of the underground flames. At this moment, the workers have access to the Gps and other motion detectors, which makes it quite easy for them to detect a danger-prone area.
But, it is just like avoiding the inevitable. The government should take immediate measures to avoid a huge catastrophe, which would consume a huge population and property as well.
Jharia Coal Mine Fire and It’s Impact
In the current scenario, The harmful elements which are extracted from the coal mines have 40% effluents of toxic Hydrogen compounds. This certainly is life threatening by all means.
The oxidation breaths fire to these flames, which is the sole reason why underground flames are aggravating for such a long period. Thus, the government should invest in controlling such elements as well.
These sorts of underground fires have even prevailed in countries like the USA and China, as well. But it seems that the whole world is specifically putting the blame on Indian territory for the emission of hazardous elements causing damages to the Ozone layer as well.
But the Indian government desperately needs to focus on the lives of thousands of people living in such sensitive places, as no one knows what nature is going to offer in the very next moment!
Jharia-झरिया में लगी है दुनिया की सबसे खौफनाक आग/100 years fire
JHARIA MASTER PLAN – Dealing With Fire, Subsidence & Rehabilitation
Everything You Need To Know About It
Jharia, one of the largest mining sites in Jharkhand, is facing problems with subsidence issues and constant fire damage in recent times. Under lease to the Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL) Company the Jharia coalfield problems are the result of intense mining activity in the area for over a century.
Jharia Master Plan
The most prevalent issue is the rehabilitation and subsidence of the numerous illegal encroachers who have settled in around 25 different fire-affected areas in the Jharia coalfield area. You can read the Jharia coal field history.
To tackle these issues firsthand the Government of India approved the Jharia master plan in August of 2009. The plan is estimated to have an investment of around INR 7,112 crores for the Jharia rehabilitation and the Jharia subsidence issues. The plan was set to be implemented in around 10 years, post the first 2 years.
Brief Overview of Jharia Master Plan for Fire, Rehabilitation & Subsidence
The Jharia master plan outlines the following aspects for Jharia rehabilitation, resettlement and Jharia subsidence by BCCL for its employees and their families:
Rehabilitation requirements – Jharia rehabilitation and resettlement entails that BCCL build 25,000 homes, with an estimated cost of around INR 1,068 crores. The rehabilitation is to be done in phases. The priority for resettlement has been given for constructing 15,852 homes urgently, for subsidence and fire-affected families of BCCL employees.
Resettlement plan – Under the Jharia rehabilitation point, in Phase-I, around 12,642 homes were to be completed but the figure is down to 7,926 homes. Under Phase-II, around 12,538 homes were required but after adjustment with current projected estimates, this number is down to 7,926 homes too. The company plans to finish Phase-I and Phase-II of the Jharia master plan by 2021. The adjusted figures are the result of considering reduction in employees within the next 5 to 6 years.
Construction update – Under the ongoing implementation of the Jharia master plan, around 5,576 homes have been constructed completely and another 9,424 homes are under-construction. In all, 2,612 families have been reportedly resettled into new accommodations, till last update.
Final conclusion – As per present progress pace and projected estimates from experts, BCCL is well-ahead of schedule and may be able to completely execute the Jharia rehabilitation phase of the Jharia master plan by next year, 2019.
Jharia rehabilitation, resettlement and subsidence
The Jharia master plan outlines the following aspects for Jharia rehabilitation, resettlement and Jharia subsidence by JRDA for those affected by fires in the Jharia coalfield region:
Rehabilitation requirements – According to latest reports, JRDA has been able to excel and completed socio-economic and demographic surveys of 84,497 families from 569 sites, as opposed to surveying only 54,159 families from 595 sites, as outlined in the Jharia master plan.
Resettlement plan – Under the Jharia master plan, JRDA has been tasked with constructing a total of 54,159 homes. These are to be completed in two phases and need to be completed within 10 years.
Construction update – The JRDA authorities have successfully constructed a total of 3,072 homes, and have shifted 1,272 families in these, as per latest report. Out of the total, 720 additional houses were constructed under the Jharia master plan in which 103 families were resettled.
Final conclusion – According to latest update, is planning construction of an additional 8,000 homes apart from the 2,352 homes planned under the demonstration scheme.
Latest Update of Jharia Master Plan for Jharia Rehabilitation & Jharia Subsidence
Protest over rehabilitation scheme’s ambiguous nature
According to latest news reports, BCCL has courted controversy and backlash from various corners with their latest action. The company issued yet another appeal to the illegal encroachers in over 24 of their fire-hit Jharia coalfield areas to move to safer place, despite having fewer rehabilitation homes ready than is presently required.
Apart from this, there is widespread concern regarding the specific criteria that entails resettlement as well as the lack of solid data on the 595 fire-affected sites before 2004.
BCCL, through their Shimla Bahal Colliery issued a notice application in newspapers addressing the illegal encroachers of around 21 areas to vacate immediately, lest they face the same fate as that faced by those living in the nearby Indirachowk area in November of 2014 and Tarabagan area in August of 2016.
Safely evacuation and resettlement From Jharia Coal Fire
The company also stated that most of their employees, along with their families, have been safely evacuated and resettled in safer areas. For the rest, the up-coming retirement will mean that they will have to vacate their homes, as per company policy. For the families of non-BCCL employees, the Jharia master plan entails sufficient resettlement and rehabilitation.
The company defended the move by stating that the appeal is in accordance to the plan which requires shifting employees and families from the 42 high-threat areas out of the total 595, in order to avoid any incident.
However, the appeal was met with protest from residents of the area, most of them asking the feasibility of resettlement despite the JRDA lacking sufficient accommodations for those asked to evacuate. The criteria of 2004 being the cut-off for seeking resettlement under the Jharia master plan is also a point of dispute amongst the residents in these areas.
The government’s stance on Jharia rehabilitation
In contrast, the Additional District Magistrate (Law and Order) stated that there is no confusion about the criteria for resettlement as the Jharia master plan includes providing rehabilitation to those who have settled in the area after 2004 as well.
The ADM also added that the rehabilitation process is being expedited with the help of various agencies who are tasked with verification of over 91,000 families in the fire-hit Jharia coalfield region and affected from Jharia coal dust pollution.
The verification process is said to be completed within the next two months. For those not eligible for the master plan’s Jharia rehabilitation scheme, they will be included in other government scheme for resettlement.
In addition, the ADM also stated that JRDA currently has around 550 vacant quarters at Belgharia and an additional 2,000 homes are being constructed as well.
Jharia rehabilitation & development authority JRDA
Jharia rehabilitation & development authority JRDA has been established in December 2004. It is for implementation of Rehabilitation and Resettlement of Non-BCCL people who have been residing in fire and near by affected areas of Jharia Coalfield.
JRDA Jharia Rehabilitation and Resettlement
I want to write about JRDA in Jharia.in to tell about this organization and its working style. This organization has given many people a new life. They shifted many people in a safe place who has been living in fire areas.
Jharia action plan
The main goal of this organization is Shifting, rehabilitation/resettlement and welfare of the said families residing at coal fire and subsidence affected areas of Jharia Coalfield under the jurisdiction of Dhanbad district.
Jharia master plan
Master plan for dealing with fire, subsidence and rehabilitation by the Central Mine Planning & Design Institute ltd.
I am sharing the latest master plan PDF, you can check and download to know about it. Jharia and Raniganj coal fields are struggling with fire since many years and these problems have been taken by many organization with the help of BCCL(Bharat Coking Coal limited) time to time.
Go through the shared pdf by JRDA, you will be able to see and understand the same.
For latest news and updates on Jharia, visit JRDA.in for JRDA dhanbad latest news.
I will update this in future about JRDA. Trying to arrange more information.