New Delhi: Three women were killed in an incident of land subsidence in Jharia, Dhanbad district of Jharkhand, authorities said. The incident occurred on the evening of September 17 near the Gondudih Khas Kusunda Colliery in Jharia. The coalfield is operated by Coal India Ltd (CIL) subsidiary, Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL). Jharia coalfields in Dhanbad are afflicted with problems of land subsidence and fire that blazes beneath the ground. The government has blamed these problems on ‘unscientific mining carried out by the erstwhile mine owners over more than 200 years of operations prior to nationalisation.’
The three women killed in the incident have been identified as Parla Devi (55), Thandi Devi (55) and Mandwa Devi (60), all residents of nearby Chhotki Bouwa Basti.
It was in 1996 that a high-level committee was set up for the rehabilitation of residents in the area after the local administration declared the area unsafe for habitation. However, the rehabilitation process has dragged on. A master plan has also been developed to douse the fire, deal with the subsidence and rehabilitation, and the “diversion of surface infrastructure within the leasehold areas of ECL (Eastern Coalfield Limited) and BCCL (Bharat Coking Coal Limited).” However, the process of rehabilitation is still underway and has faced problems like funding, verification of the identity of residents who ought to be rehabilitated under the scheme, etc.