New Delhi : Union Minister of Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi chaired a meeting of Parliamentary Consultative Committee of Ministry of Coal today in Parliament House to discuss way ahead for Jharia Master Plan. MPs participated in the Consultative Committee meeting.
During the presentation, it was informed that due to unscientific mining in pre-nationalisation period, mining areas in Jharia coalfield area have faced problems of fire and subsidence. Now these areas fall in the leasehold regions of Bharat Coking Coal Limited.
As an outcome of WP(C) No.381/97 filed by late Haradhan Roy, Ex-MP in 1997 in the Supreme Court of India, a Master Plan for dealing with Fire, Subsidence and Rehabilitation in Jharia was approved on 12th August 2009 by Govt. of India with implementation period of 10 years and pre-implementation period of 2 years. The implementation period ended in August 2021.
As a result of fire control measures taken by BCCL, fire area is continuously decreasing and at present as per NRSC surveys in 2021 fire sites has been reduced to 18 sites covering 1.8 sq. km from initial 70 sites covering area of 17.32sq. km. At present, 15 sites are economically viable, wherein work related to digging of fire has been awarded and at 2 sites BCCL board has recommended viability gap funding of Rs. 763 crores from revised Master Plan. At 4 sites, blanketing will be done to cover the fire sites with a view to extinguish fire.
Regarding rehabilitation, there are 595 sites wherein BCCL is responsible for taking actions to shift its staff from BCCL houses. BCCL has undertaken construction of 15852 houses and at present about 3852 families are to be shifted to the new houses. BCCL has proposed 8000 houses to be utilised by Jharia Rehabilitation & Development Authority (JRDA) for non-BCCL families.
In case of rehabilitation of non-BCCL families, there has been substantial increase in number of encroachers as on 2019 against the cut-off date provision of 2004. State Government is responsible for shifting of legal & non-legal title holders. JRDA under State Government has taken up construction of 18352 houses out of which 6352 are completed and rest will be completed by August 2022.
JRDA has prepared a revised rehabilitation proposal which State Government is examining. In the meantime, Ministry of Coal has constituted a committee to examine the issue in detail and submit a report on way ahead.