Action not taken

Only committees for fighting fire

1922: First committee set up under the coal ministry to check the Jharia fire and prevent subsidence. No action taken on its report.

1964: Director of CMRI appointed to carry out a survey and suggest measures to save coal that had caught fire.

1976: The Union energy ministry constituted a committee to examine safety in the nationalized coal mines. The committee also examined the safety of surface dwellers.

1976: The committee noted fire was active in some mining areas, posing danger to the surface structure. It recommended formation of area development committees for controlling fire and subsidence on priority. Its recommendation was implemented hastily.

1990: BCCL and the Bihar government began a survey to identify subsidence-prone and fire-affected areas in Jharia.

1996: Consultants Gai-Metchem and Northwest Mine Services Ltd, a US-Canadian joint-venture, prepared a comprehensive action plan to control fire and subsidence. Funded by the World Bank, the project report recommended Jharia town required immediate isolation from fires.

On the basis of the report the Centre constituted a committee under the chairmanship of the secretary of the coal ministry to review fire and subsidence problems in the Jharia and Raniganj (West Bengal) coalfields and suggest measures to deal with habitation in subsidence-prone areas. The Committee was also asked to suggest areas for resettlement, mechanism for evacuation and resettlement of the affected population.

1997: Haradhan Roy, former MP from Asansol in West Bengal, filed a public-interest petition in the Supreme Court, pleading for a comprehensive rehabilitation package for families in the fire-affected and subsidence-prone areas of Jharia and Raniganj. DGMS told the court there is no scientific method to ensure the long-term stability of a fire site and the permanent solution is evacuation.

1999: Central Mine Planning & Design Institute, appointed by the Centre, state and BCCL, prepared a master plan to deal with fire, subsidence and rehabilitation in BCCL leasehold. The court, acting on the PIL, directed the Centre, Coal India and DGMS to chalk out a comprehensive rehabilitation and relocation plan for the master plan.

2003: Jharia Action Plan finalized after including the rehabilitation and relocation plan.

2007: The Jharkhand government approved the plan. It now needs the Centre