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
- 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.
Article Written By – An Experience Content Writer