ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Coal Disaster

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Some years ago, Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt, Nesar Ahmad and Radhika Krishnan reminded us in the pages of EPW (“Land Acquisition and Dispossession: Private Coal Companies in Jharkhand,” 11 February 2012) that coal has a long history ofbeing associated with nationalism and that it has assumed an iconic status as a national asset in India. In their article, they wrote the story of allotment of coal mining blocks to private companies in Jharkhand and dispossession of the indigenous communities.

A recent investigative report carried in the Indian Express tells the story of another coal disaster. About 12.75 million tonnes of coal was unloaded at theMormugao Port and carried across Goa to power stations and refineries in Karnataka and beyond. Nearly 25 million tonnes of coal is expected to be unloaded each year at the Mormugao Port by 2020.Jindal, Adani, and Vedanta are the big three among those who transport coal from the port. The coal arrives at the port through three key routes—road, rail and river—and causes human and ecological disaster in the state of Goa. To put it in the words of the Indian Express report, “the transport of such huge amounts of coal is putting at risk entire habitations in villages and towns. The coal dust is blackening lungs, pushing up incidents of respiratory disorder; it’s threatening fragile forests, paddy fields, countless streams and rivers, at one place even a tiger corridor, at least two sanctuaries, and an entire hill.”

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Updated On : 3rd Nov, 2017
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