At least eight open cast mines of the Mahanadi Coal
Fields Limited (MCL), a subsidiary of state-run Coal
India, are facing closure in Orissa due to opposition by
local residents, a company official said in late June.
Objections are from villagers who fear homelessness
as the mines expand. According to MCL spokesman
Dikken Mehra, “We are not able to shift the villagers
because we are not getting rehabilitation sites. The
villagers, who had given up their land, have been
employed by the company and compensation packages
paid to them. But unavailability of land for their
rehabilitation has become a major trouble in shifting
them,” he added. He said the problems in several mines
were acute and required urgent measures.
“The mines which are registering negative growth
compared to last year in the Talcher coalfields are Bharatpur, Jagannath, Ananta,
Bhubaneswari, Chendipada, Lingaraj, Hingula and Balaram,” he said.
However, problems in at least four mines were acute and required urgent measures.
The Bharatpur mine is a dedicated MCL mine for supply of coal to state-run National
Aluminium Co Ltd (NALCO). Other mines supply coals to power plants in several states,
including Orissa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Mehra said: “A machine costing more than Rs.100 crore was employed at Bharatpur
mine recently but it could not be put in operation because of the non-eviction of a house
on the site. We fear that if early action is not taken in this regard, the commitment made to
NALCO and other power producers will not be fulfilled,” he added.
The MCL has produced 104.8mt (million tonnes) of coal during 2009/2010 against India’s