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Monday, September 22, 2014

Illegal mining in Jharkhand- a hazard to environment

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Incidents of Illegal mining have been reported frequently from coal areas of Jharkhand state of India. Among many districts of the state falling in the coal areas, Koderma and Ramgarh are on the top of the list. About 600 crushers have been reported running day and night in Domchanch and Chandwara areas of Koderma alone. These two areas have more than 150 mines from where stones are lifted. A number of small hills and mounds that stood as important landmarks in these areas have been vanished completely.

A mountain named Chanchal in Domchanch area has reportedly been vanished due to illegal stone mining. The mountain was estimated to have a height of about 100 feet and it has now been reduced to mere 10 feet or so.

Dozens of mines that operate in this area extract stones by blasting. About 300 feet deep area has also been explored and stones from this area have been dug out for crushers. Local residents report that cracks have developed in their houses due to blasting operations.

A local Hindi Daily from Ranchi reports that timber trees have totally been cleared from Babani mountain forest along Giridih road. The animals including birds have started migrating from these areas due to blasting operations and activities of workers and transport vehicles.

About 3 km from the Domchanch area of Koderma district, there is a Neeru hill. Locals say that there was a dense forest about 30 years ago. There was a habitat of about 15 families of a peculiar adivasi (tribal) race named Birhor. Gradually, the crushers started joining the area and the culture of Birhor was endangered. It is further reported that once when Birhor were out in the forest for hunting and collection of firewood, the dumper drivers crushed their huts during which two Birhor children were crushed to death.

After that tragedy, Birhor migrated from there and took shelter in Chitarpur Inderwa Panchayat's forest area. There is Ambadah mine near the Neeru hill. This mine is regarded as 2nd biggest mine in the Jharkhand state.

There is a sanctuary in the forest of Sirsirwa in the Koderma district. A small hill of this area has been vanished by crushers. Still, the mining activities in the area are going on. About 15 to 20 mines have been operating here without any license. Stone mafias killed a ranger in the last month. These mafias often play by guns in this area. Now officers of the department of forest fear from going into this area for inspection.

About half a dozen illegal mines are in operation along Koderma- Giridih railway track (between Nawalshahi and Kusmai). The rail track has been reported to be under risk due to illegal mining very near to its famous pond located in Kataria Tand has been filled with stone dust and its ecology has been endangered.

A reporter told that JCB and poke lane machines remove soil, while compressor machines are used for making holes in rocks. Dynamite explosives are filled into such holes and the rocks are broken by blasting. The stone pieces are loaded on trucks and dumpers from where they are transported to crushers. According to workers about 40 to 50 dumper stones are brought out to crushers from each mine. A dumper contains 50CFT stone which is priced at 2500 to 2800 rupees. It is reported that a business of about 1.5 lakh is done per day. It is estimated that illegal business of the area yields up to 30 crores in a month and about 4 millions in a year. Illegal business of costly stones is another case of the area.

Key Words: crushers, mine, illegal, Jharkhand, Giridih, stone

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