Friday February 21, 2020

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
  • 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

Next Story

Monitoring Method May Help To Conserve Lions in India

In the new study, Keshab Gogoi and his colleagues have demonstrated an alternative method for monitoring Asiatic lions

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Lions
Conserving this sub-specie of lions with the use of best scientific methods is a global priority and responsibility, according to authors of the study from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). Pixabay

An alternative method of monitoring endangered lions in India can help improve estimates of their numbers and also in making informed conservation policy and management decisions.

New conservation practices have helped increase the number of Asiatic lions from 50 to 500 in the Gir Forests of Gujarat.

Accurate estimates are needed for better conservation efforts, according to a study published in the journal PLOS ONE.

The existing methods, particularly a technique known as total counts, can miss some and double-count others. Also, they provide limited information on the spatial density.

Conserving this sub-specie of lions with the use of best scientific methods is a global priority and responsibility, according to authors of the study from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

In the new study, Keshab Gogoi and his colleagues have demonstrated an alternative method for monitoring Asiatic lions.

“Our research addresses this priority by developing a robust approach to their population assessment and monitoring, which can be used for all lion populations across the world,” said an author.

Gogoi and colleagues used whisker patterns and permanent body marks to identify lions using a computer programme, and analysed the data with a mathematical modelling method known as ‘spatially explicit capture recapture’ to estimate the lion density.

They also assessed the prey density and other factors that could influence the lion density.

Lion, Predator, Dangerous, Mane, Big Cat, Male, Zoo
An alternative method of monitoring endangered lions in India can help improve estimates of their numbers and also in making informed conservation policy and management decisions. Pixabay

The researchers identified 67 lions of the 368 sightings within the 725 sq km study area in the Gir Forests, estimating an overall density of 8.53 lions per 100 sq km. They found the prey density didn’t appear to influence the lion density variations in the study area.

The lion density was higher in the flat valley habitats (as opposed to rugged or elevated areas) and near sites where food had been placed to attract lions for tourists to see them.

ALSO READ: You Can Now Pre-Book New Samsung’s Foldable Smartphone “Galaxy Z Flip” in India

The study suggests that baiting lions for tourism affects their natural density patterns, in line with other researches that baiting disrupts lion behaviour and social dynamics.

The authors said the alternative monitoring method could be used to assess lions across their range (in India and Africa) and better conservation efforts. (IANS)