Central Coalfields Limited

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Central Coalfields Limited (CCL) is a subsidiary of Coal India Limited (CIL), an undertaking of the Government of India. CCL manages the nationalized coal mines of the Coal Mines Authority, Central division. The registered and corporate office is at Darbhanga House, Ranchi, Jharkhand.

It presently has 63 mines (26 underground, 37 open cast) in areas of East Bokaro, West Bokaro, North Karanpur, South Karanpur, Ramgarh and Giridih. Their facilites include seven coal preparation plants, three for non-coking coal and four for medium coking coal. They earned their Mini Ratna status in 2007.[1]

Environment Minister approves sixteen coal projects

On February 11, 2011 India's Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh approved a total of sixteen new coal projects that were on hold due to environmental regulations. Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal stated that the environment minister’s okay of Coal India's proposed coal mine projects was due to pressure from higher levels in the Indian government. The Coal Minister also stated that environmental regulations are one of the reasons why the growth of Coal India – which produces 80 percent of the country's coal – dropped to 2 percent in 2010, compared to 2009's figure of almost 7 percent. However, the Coal Minister said the areas off limits to coal mining would remain off limits, despite the likely increase in the country's coal use.[2]

Open-cast Coal Mining in Indigenous Villages of Jharkhand

Buru Sengal / The Fire Within
Jharia Coalfield Fire/ The Fire Within

In June 2011, FoodFirst Information and Action Network (FIAN) reported that the expanding operations of Central Coalfields Limited (CCL) were posing an immediate threat to the survival of 1,000 indigenous people facing eviction from the village of Kusum Tola located in the North Karanpura region in the Indian State of Jharkhand. More than 1,000 sq km of the indigenous people of the region, the Adivasis, has been allocated to over twenty mines. Jharkhand has often been compared to Appalachia for its rich coal deposits.[3]

According to FIAN, the expansion of open cast coal mining in the North Karanpura Valley directly impacts about 200 village communities that rely on the region to maintain their subsistence lifestyles. The Adivasis grow crops including rice, wheat, wild seeds, mustard and lentils, while supplementing their incomes with minor forest produce and seasonal labor work in the off-season.[3]

CCL has mined coal in the region for over thirty years in projects including Dakara, Ray, Chura, Bachara, Manki, Piparwar and Ashoka. The Purnadih mine, which affects Kusum Tola and adjacent villages, officially opened on August 21, 2009. Eviction of the hamlets of Dembua and Baseriya had already been carried out, while Kusum Tola faces threat of eviction. FIAN said it has become common for those who protest against land acquisitions and human rights violations to be criminalized by the police.[3]

FIAN believes the mining is a violation of the provisions of national laws and international treaties including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the latter of which India ratified. Fian said the coal mining plans violate binding obligations to respect and protect basic human rights, including the human rights to clean food and water.[3]

Citizens Groups Tracking Coal Power and Mining in India

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