Safety top priority in mines, coal PSUs should ensure ample funds for ensuring safety: Joshi

While asserting that safety is top priority, Pralhad Joshi advised all coal companies to ensure that there is no scarcity of funds for ensuring safety
A file photo of Union Minister for Coal Pralhad Joshi
A file photo of Union Minister for Coal Pralhad Joshi

New Delhi: While asserting that safety is top priority in the coal sector, Minister for Coal Pralhad Joshi advised all coal companies to ensure that there is no scarcity of funds for ensuring safety measures. Applauding the rise in coal production, Joshi said on Tuesday that all the 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," said the minister. He was chairing the 48th meeting of the Standing Committee on Safety in coal mines in New Delhi, said the Ministry of Coal in a statement.

The Standing Committee is the highest Tripartite Committee at the national level to review the status of safety in coal mines and the adequacy of existing measures in a spirit of mutual cooperation and sharing of ideas and suggestions. Joshi, Minister of State for Coal, Mines & Railways Raosaheb Patil Danve, Coal Secretary, CIL Chairman, 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 20 coal companies with operating coal mines (commercial/ captive) participated in the meeting.

Must ensure best practices in coal mining: Joshi

Joshi expressed satisfaction on the best-ever performance of all coal companies this year. India's coal production increased impressively by 17 percent to 524.20 Million Tonnes (MT) during April–November 2022 as compared 447.54 MT production during the same period of the previous year. Between April-November, total coal despatch has been 558 MT, a growth of almost 7.5 percent over the last year. As a result, India's thermal power generation increased by 16 percent during November.

He also listed 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 and
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," he added.

'Significant improvement in safety records'

Joshi further stated that there has been a significant improvement in the safety records as the number of fatal and serious accidents in coal mines between the 47th meeting and 48th meeting (last 8 months) dropped significantly despite an 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 need to take steps such as strategise 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, said Joshi.

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