Tuesday December 11, 2018

Thanks to the poor safety standards of India, Death tolls are rising in the mining sector

Coal Mines Act in 1973 was enacted due to this very reason only. Private sector mines were banned due to their poor safety records and now public sector mines are also becoming dangerous.

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Mining tools exhibition, Wikimedia commons
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  • India is a producer of 89 minerals and operates 569 coal mines, 67 oil gas mines and 1,770 noncoal mines
  • Between 2009 and 2013, 752 accidents were reported and Coal Mines Act in 1973 was enacted
  • Australia, the US and China  has implemented standard operating procedures (SoPs) to counter accidents

Though major safety standards have been introduced in the Indian mining sector but still a lot needs to be taken care of. Every 10th day some sort of mining fatality is happening in our country. Digging deeper into the case, more specifically every 3rd day on an average some accidents take place in the coal mining sector. All these repercussions lead to the fact that mining is considered to be the most dangerous profession in India.

Officials claim that the numbers are declining. On paper, it may seem comforting that for extracting 100 million tonnes of coal, 7 lives were lost on an average in 2015. The majority of the mishaps that takes place are due to strata fall (roof falls or collapse of side walls). Our economy demands more and more output from the mining sector. This directly builds pressure for re-evaluating the safety standards of those toiling deep in the bowels of the earth.

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Same is the case with other developing countries such as China, Brazil. Death tolls are rising at a significant scale. Senior officials employed by world’s largest coal mine sector, coal India Ltd, concede that “Official numbers could be much lower than the actual deaths that take place deep inside the mines.”

Safety standards should be implemented in mining sectors, Wikimedia commons
Standard safety standards should be implemented in mining sectors, Wikimedia commons

India is a producer of 89 minerals by operating 569 coal mines, 67 oil gas mines and 1,770 noncoal mines and several other small mines. This forms a source of employment to about 1 million people on a daily average basis. This also contributes to about 5 % of the national GDP (Gross Domestic Product). But the fact that failures occur in the mining industry is an indication of our poor safety standards. We need to learn from countries like Australia, the US and China where standard operating procedures (SoPs) have been implemented.

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According to Official of Directorate General of Mines Safety (Ministry of Labour and Employment), In India 752 accidents have been reported between 2009 and 2013 due to the fatalities in the mining operations. Coal Mines Act in 1973 was enacted due to this very reason only. Private sector mines were banned due to their poor safety records and now public sector mines are also becoming dangerous.

Though the problems of Indian mine worker cause accidents, miners are also exposed to a number of hazards that adversely affects their health. The problem of inadequate compensation is another factor that as documented in the report by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on safety in coal mines.

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-by Pritam

Pritam is an engineering student and an intern at NewsGram. Twitter handle Pritam_gogreen

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Hindus In Delhi Push For A Temple On The Ruins Of a Mosque

The Supreme Court has delayed hearings into the disputed site but hardliners have vowed to lay a foundation stone next year regardless.

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Supporters of Vishwa Hindu Parishad gather during a rally in New Delhi, Dec. 9, 2018. The group gathered thousands of supporters to demand the construction of a Hindu temple on a site where a mosque was attacked, demolished in 1992. VOA

Tens of thousands of hardline Hindu protesters marched in New Delhi on Sunday, calling for a grand temple to be built on the ruins of a destroyed mosque in a flashpoint Indian city.

Trident-waving devotees clad in saffron filled a huge parade ground in the Indian capital under tight security, where speakers warned Prime Minister Narendra Modi they would not let up until the temple was sanctioned.

Some of Modi’s supporters feel the Hindu nationalist leader has not done enough to raise a shrine at a site in Ayodhya, a city believed by many to be the birthplace of the deity Ram.

The site was home to a medieval mosque for 460 years until Hindu zealots tore it down in 1992, kicking off riots across India that left thousands dead, most of them Muslims.

Its future has been tied up in courts for decades but some hardliners want Modi, who is seeking reelection in 2019, to push parliament to guarantee the temple by law.

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“The gathering here is telling you that Hindus won’t sit back until the temple is built, and our wishes are respected,” said Champat Rai, the leader of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) group that organized the protest.

Demonstrators chanting “Praise be to Ram” packed the Ramlila Maidan, a vast ground capable of holding more than 50,000 people, and filled the surrounding streets.

Some carried maces and tridents — weapons traditionally wielded by Hindu gods — and traveled great distances by train and bus to reach the rally.

“We have come here to protect our religion and Hindu pride. We want a temple for our Lord Ram,” Hitesh Bharadwaj, a teacher from Delhi’s satellite city Noida, told AFP.

The hardline VHP has applied pressure on Modi in recent weeks, staging a huge show of force in Ayodhya itself last month.

Hindu, Mosque
Photo credit: theguardian.com

A close ally of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the group is spearheading a push to raise the Ram temple, and is calling for more protests as the premier prepares to go to the polls by May.

The BJP was on the margins until the 1980s when its top leaders, including Modi, backed a growing movement for the construction of the Ram temple.

Its advocates want parliament to introduce a law bypassing legal hurdles blocking the temple before Modi’s term ends.

Also Read: Delhi’s Air Quality Leads To Ban On Trucks And Construction

The Supreme Court has delayed hearings into the disputed site but hardliners have vowed to lay a foundation stone next year regardless.

“We don’t care about the courts. A grand temple will be constructed in 2019,” Sushil Chawdhary, a VHP leader, told AFP. (VOA)