Coal 'mafia' hampering Indian production: report

EASTERN Coalfields, a subsidiary of the world’s biggest coal producer Coal India, has expressed its concern over illegal coal mining and “mafia” activities in India which is bringing some of its mines to a standstill.
Coal 'mafia' hampering Indian production: report Coal 'mafia' hampering Indian production: report Coal 'mafia' hampering Indian production: report Coal 'mafia' hampering Indian production: report Coal 'mafia' hampering Indian production: report

One of Eastern Coalfields' coal washery plants. Courtesy of Eastern Coalfields.

Lauren Barrett

According to the Deccan Herald, Eastern Coalfields says a mafia group is costing the company $120 million Indian rupee ($A2.23 million) every month in lost production.

“Due to continuous disruptions caused by the coal mafia and anti-social elements near Raniganj area in West Bengal, 40,000 tonnes of coal production is being hampered every month,” the news service reported Eastern Coalfields as saying.

Mafia groups are associated with illegal coal mining activities near Eastern Coalfields’ mines in West Bengal and Jharkhand.

It is believed the illegal mining is not only posing a danger to villages, but the government is also reportedly incurring a loss of revenue via royalties from the disruptions.

“Illegal miners under the influence of local groups have been halting production on the plea of environment pollution and conservation of [a] so-called heritage building related to the Tagore family,” Eastern Coalfields was quoted as saying.

It is believed Eastern Coalfields has repeatedly reported the situation to its local administration while Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal has reportedly expressed his commitment to dismantling the coal mafia organisation.

Eastern Coalfields recorded total coal production for 2010-2011 was 30.8 million tonnes, representing a growth of 2.48% from the previous year.

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