COAL MAFIA IN EASTERN INDIA
In India, major coal fields are located in state of west Bengal, Bihar and Orrisa. Raniganj, Jharia and Giridih as are having major coal mines. There are more than 800 coal mines in India. India occupies 3rd position in the world in the field of coal production. Raniganj coal belt is an important coalfield located in Damodar river valley. It is spreaded around 240-sq. km area. It contributes 30% of total coal production of the country. Coal is the pre – dominant primary commercial energy source in India. In India maximum coal is found in son, Damoder, Gowdavari & Wardha etc. These are situated in valley of river. Gondwana land parts contribute 98% parts of total coal, mainly two type coal are found bituminous & anthracite. Bituminous type coal has carbon quantity 75 to 80% & Anthracite coal has 80 to 90% of carbon quantity. Anthracite coal is good, bright, black colour, maximum temperature & low smoke quality & Bituminous is also called secondary coal, it is black, maximum temperature, low smoke & water parts contain 25 to 30%. Gondwana land’s coal found maximum in West Bengal, Bihar, Orissa, Madhya Prdesh, Maharastra & Andhra Pradesh etc. state. According to Geo Survey of India (1 January 1992), total coal in India has been 1,96,022.90 million ton (in depth 1200 mt)). West Bengal state has 2512.4 billion ton total reserve coal. Total coal reserve up to 600 Mt depth is 35 billions tones, about 23 billion tones in West Bengal. The total extractable reserve of coal has been accessed as 8 billions tones, this includes 6 billion tones in West Bengal & 2 billion in Bihar.
Coal mining destroys or significantly alters all the physical features that influence the capabilities of the land. Mining is the only land use for a long time without reclamation mining operations usually produce large qualities of wastes, overburden and under grade ore materials etc.Everyday, groups of other men, women and children join her at this coal-burning ghat, only a few kilometres from the city’s main market. The coal that comes to them is mined and sold illegally. The irony is that Asansol-Dhanbad area sits in the heart of India’s coal belt, yet residents rely on illegal coal to cook their daily food. If caught, can end up in prison for months without trial, but a lonely constable in khaki from the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), watching passively at the sidelines provides the much-needed assurance.There are no official records, but locals vouch that hundreds have died in illegal mining mishaps, only to have their families threatened into silence by the coal mafia.
Industries have not prospered in West Bengal-jharkhand (Raniganj,Barakar,Kulti,Kalipahari,Bokoro,Dhanbad). That’s why illegal mining industry is gaining mileage in this area.Several areas in and around Kulti and nearby Asansol have been experiencing landslides due to rampant illegal mining.
Irrespective of tall claims by local police officials, including Nawadih and Bokaro thermal, the illegal coal extraction and trade racket is spreading unabated almost all over the area.
When coal was nationalised in 1973, the government took over assets, but not its liabilities. Mining protocol demands underground cavities be filled with sand, but dungeons from the British era remain unfilled.
The official price of coal is around Rs 2,800 a tonne, but the mafia sells it for Rs 1,300 , and middlemen who is supplying coal to mafias is getting Rs 600 for every tonne.
Agriculture is not a viable option because all the ground water has seeped into the hollow earth. With no other skills, most are driven to either work for the coal mafia, or steal whatever coal they can find.Sometimes, when oxygen seeps into the underground methane-charged coal from these fissures, entire areas combust and fires rage.The records show that 1,000 bags of sand have been sanctioned, but actually only 100 are being used for filling.
But this coal mining mafia racket is running with the help of local politicians. They engage in getting huge amount of money bribe & playing role of mafia. Also local police is involved in this racket. NH-2 of Asansol-Durgapur & Dhanbad-Asansol two main areas where police should needs to check in police check-posts . But this racket is running because of huge pressure from politicians, selected police peoples & local mafia. They are passing illegal trucks without checking. In 2010 , Police officer Kunal Agarwal captured several illegal coal trucks & gangs of Siraj Khan who is suspected. But honest officers have been transferred to either maoist areas or areas of North-East militancy areas and dishonest policemen only can work in check-posts. Then Coal Mafia sells illegal coal to local factories. Local businessmen are also enjoying this because they are getting huge amount of coals in very cheaper rate.