In the wake of the Jharkhand coal mine cave-in, which has so far claimed 18 lives, the government has decided to conduct safety audits for all the 418 mines in the country, coal and power minister Piyush Goyal said on Tuesday. The Centre has also decided to draw a road map for the highest standard of mine safety, ensuring ‘zero accident’ in coal mining.
“We have taken several decisions in terms of strengthening the safety infrastructure and safety audits, and we have also committed to spend on most modern equipment which should help us prevent accidents,” Goyal told the media after holding a review meeting on mine safety with senior Coal India officials.
“I have ordered a safety audit of all the mines in the country…We will look at safety audit from all the aspects,” Goyal said, adding his ministry had decided to carry out a detailed investigation on the accident at Lalmatia opencast coal mine in Rajmahal area of Eastern Coalfields (ECL) last week.
Death toll in the coal mine collapse rose to 18 so far. Rescue operation is still underway at the mining site.
According to the minister, for the safety audits, first 58 large mines of the country would be covered, where annual composite overburden production is between one to five million cubic metres. All the safety audits will be conducted by the director general of mines safety. “If any third-party expert assistance is required, I am open to it,” he said.
Goyal said safety actions like anti-collision system for dumpers, electronic tele-monitoring system, geo-technical cells in Coal India mines for slope stability and gas monitoring system had already been taken.
On ‘Uday’, the scheme for revival of the debt-stressed power distribution companies, the minister said three more states will soon join the scheme. “Two large states – Telangana and Assam – are joining the UDAY scheme tomorrow (Wednesday), and a week after one more very large state will be joining the scheme,” he informed.