Coal dust covers Jharia

The Telegraph | Jan 09, 2020

Increased mining activities by Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL) in the absence of proper measures to mitigate its impact have resulted in a thick layer of coal dust shrouding Jharia town.

Ashok Keshri, 50, a resident of Hetli Bandh locality in Jharia, said: “When I went to the terrace this morning, I saw a thick layer of coal dust deposited there. I have never seen pollution reach such dangerous levels in Jharia. I am very worried about the health of my children. I have a few more years to live. The worst impact of this pollution will be felt by the young people.”

Amit Sahu, president of Jharia Chamber of Commerce and the vice-president of Federation of Dhanbad Zilla Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FDZCCI) said the situation is really alarming.

“Even if we park our car somewhere for half an hour, a dark black layer of coal dust will settle on it. We will hold a meeting of Jharia Chamber of Commerce within a week and take up the issue with the BCCL administration as well as the newly elected Jharia MLA Purnima Singh,” Sahu said.

Former councillor of Ward 37 of Jharia, Anup Sao, said the blasting carried out at different BCCL collieries around Jharia town and in Lodna area is leading to the ride in pollution.

“We will raise the issue with the general manager of BCCL’s Bastacola area,” he added.

Rajendra Paswan, a private tutor of Mohribandh locality in Jharia and the central secretary of Bihar Colliery Kamgar Union said the pollution was worst in the areas adjoining Jharia town that are closer to the mines.

General manager of BCCL’s Bastacola area Soumen Chatterjree said: “We have taken some steps and shut down some to fiery mines that used to spew lots of coal dust. If residents are still complaining about increased pollution, we will check and initiate further measures to keep it under control.”