Mafia, illegal mining causing loss of Rs 12cr/month: ECL

Mafia, illegal mining causing loss of Rs 12cr/month: ECL

Eastern Coalfields, a subsidiary of Coal India, today said illegal mining coupled with mafia operations at its mines is causing a loss of Rs 12 crore to it every month as production of about 40,000 tonnes is being hampered.

"Many productive mines ... have come to standstill. 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," Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL) said in a statement.

"The amount of loss caused due to stopping of coal production can be very well judged through two mines of Narayankudi and North Seyarsole, where company is accounting a loss of Rs 120 million every month. Government is also incurring huge loss of revenue in the form of royalty," ECL, which has operations in West Bengal and some parts of Jharkhand, said.

Warning that power crisis in the country may further aggravate, the company said less production has adversely affected the coal supply to the nearby power plants and industries.

The company said while mafia groups are indulged in illegal coal mining activities posing danger to several towns and villages, agricultural land and commercial establishments in the vicinity of these illegal mines, the illegal mining led to flooding of North Seyarsole mines during last monsoon, completely suspending production activities in the area.

"ECL, when tried to depute miners from these mines to other working collieries, had to face stiff resistance from the local groups. Still, the workers of these mines are not able to work in other mines due to the provocation of the agitating local groups," a senior ECL official said.

The official added that mining operations have also come to a standstill at Narayankudi mines, which have a huge reserve of good quality of thermal coal.

"Illegal miners under the influence of local groups have been halting production on the plea of environment pollution and conservation of so called heritage building related to the Tagore family," the statement said.

It added that the company had got all approvals from different agencies including the local bodies like Gram Panchayat, etc before starting mining operations.

It said that ECL has already reported the matter of "forcible stopping of production and illegal mining" to the local administration a number of times and if the "situation is not controlled in time it may worsen the financial condition of ECL, which is already in losses."

Earlier, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal has said that his ministry is committed to eliminating coal mafia and bringing to an end its nexus with corrupt officials

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