New Delhi : The 48th meeting of the Standing Committee on Safety in coal mines was held in New Delhi under the chairmanship of Union Minister of Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Shri Pralhad Joshi. Standing Committee is the highest Tripartite Committee at the national level to review the status of safety in coal mines and adequacy of existing measures in a spirit of mutual cooperation and sharing of ideas and suggestions. Minister Shri Joshi , Minister of State for Coal, Mines & Railways Shri Raosaheb Patil Danve, Secretary (Coal), Chairman (CIL), DG (DGMS), CMDs of CIL subsidiaries, senior officials of the coal companies, Trade Union Leaders and representatives from various captive/ commercial coal companies were present in the meeting. More than twenty coal companies with operating coal mines (commercial/ captive) participated in the meeting.
Minister Shri Joshi mentioned that safety is top priority in coal sector and advised all coal companies to ensure that there is no scarcity of fund for ensuring safety measures. He expressed satisfaction on the best ever performance of all coal companies this year. India’s coal production increased impressively by 17% to 524.20 Million Ton (MT) during April –November 2022 as compared 447.54 MT production during the same period of the previous year. Between Apr-Nov ’22, total coal despatch has been 558 MT, a growth of almost 7.5% over last year. As a result, India’s thermal power generation increased by 16% during November.
The Minister mentioned that all our achievements would be futile if our workers are not safe and healthy. Mine safety is always given the highest priority in the coal sector and asked strictly to follow. ‘Safety First, Production Must’ in all mines. He also mentioned the steps taken by coal companies to increase safety in coal mines:
- Adoption of Risk Assessment based Safety Management Plan,
- Job Safety Analysis based Standard Operating Procedures, Tool Box Safety Talk
- Mine surveillance such as Electronic Total Station, 3D terrestrial laser scanning, SURPAC software, Mine Slope Stability Radar.
- Suraksha Mitra Mandli’ i.e. Safety Circle to enhance safety culture.
- We have to ensure the “Best Safety Practices” in all spheres of mining activities.
Minister Shri Joshi further stated that there has been significant improvement in the safety records as number of fatal and serious accidents in coal mines between 47th meeting and 48th meeting (last 8 months) dropped significantly despite high increase in coal production.
The Minister also suggested that ultimate goal of ‘Zero Accident and Zero Harm’ can be achieved by adoption of advanced technology, skilled human resources and safe workplace procedures. Beside these, coal companies to take step such as:
- Strategize on scaling up safety and sustainability initiatives as showcased in the National Coal Conclave & Exhibition 2022.
- Increased use of Continuous Miner, Long wall, Bolter miner, Road header, and other modern mining methods.
- Blast-free coal mining should be encouraged for boosting safety and protecting the environment.
Various issues were raised by the Trade Union Leaders. The Minister assured that all the issues raised by the leaders will be looked into by the Coal Ministry and necessary directions will be issued to coal companies for resolution of these issues.