New Delhi: At a recent meeting held under the chairmanship of the Coal Secretary on the Jharia Master Plan, it was decided that only cash packages be offered to affected families going forward and the provision of offering housing be scrapped. According to the minutes of the meeting, "R&R Packages were discussed and suggested only to give cash package as proposed in future. The option of 50 m2 house (for LTH, meaning Legal Title Holders) and 38.92 m2 house (for non-LTH) should be given up."
The meeting was held on October 26 to review the committee report for way ahead for the Jharia Master Plan. The document said that after a detailed deliberation, the committee agreed to make changes to the draft committee report.
While suggesting the scrapping of the provision for offering housing, the committee also recommended that no new houses should be constructed, but the construction of houses which have been approved and which are currently underway should be completed on mission mode.
With regards to unstable locations, the committee suggested that these locations should be categorised into two categories on the basis of threat perception of human life due to prevalent fire and future outbreaks in the mining areas. "The sites having urgent requirements of shifting should be identified under Phase-1 and the sites having not-so-urgent requirements of shifting at present should be identified under Phase-2. Further, these sites are to be divided and identified as mining areas and non-mining areas in each phase," said the document.
While BCCL will acquire the land in mining areas and shall be responsible for the relief and rehabilitation (R&R) and shifting in the mining area, the Jharia Master Plan will be implemented in non-mining areas, the committee said.
At the meeting, it was proposed to strengthen the Jharia Rehabilitation Development Authority (JRDA) with a full-fledged CEO, who should be appointed by the state government. A suitable executive committee may be formed at JRDA level, said the committee.
Instead of the Central empowered committee, it was suggested to constitute a monitoring and coordination committee at the state-level under the Chief Secretary, including an officer of AS/JS or above level from the Ministry of Coal and other stakeholders and departments as members, for overall monitoring, supervision and coordination of the programme.
"Funding pattern for JMP was discussed and (it was) suggested to continue with the original pattern laid down in the original JMP duly approved by the Union Cabinet. The funds will be allocated by CIL up to their maximum limit as fixed and then additional funds will be made available by the Ministry of Coal, GoI," said the document.
PSU Watch had earlier reported that areas under fire in Jharia coal mines has reduced drastically from the initial 17.32 sq km to 1.8 sq km in 2021, according to the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) survey. 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.
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