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As we arrived at Sarangjharia, a village about 12 kilometers away from coal mine, we found the locals gathered around a tree with baskets in their hands, waiting for a man climbing the tree in front of us to get them some jackfruit. This is symbolic of the quiet and simple life that people live in the village which is not yet claimed by any mining companies and hence the area remained untouched by any major industries as yet and the village coexist with nature.  According to the villagers, while the majority are engaged in agriculture, one-fourth of the residents are engaged in


Early in 2022 four women were among five people who died when a series of mines collapsed in Dhanbad,Jharkhand. They were illegally mining coal in the abandoned mines of Bharat Coking Coal and Eastern Coalfields Limited (Times of India, 2022). Jharkhand’s Jharia coalfields also see the involvement of many women in illegal coal mining under coal mafias that run in the abandoned mines. It is hard to imagine people choosing to work in conditions of bondage because they had a choice, especially women and young children (Thadani, 2022). Whether they are drawn to the pay or whether they are coerced into such cond

Local NGO perspective

The thought of transition drives one to think of the immediate impact on life and livelihood, local economy, businesses, and the possibilities ahead. Coal phase-out will hit the local people and the labour force hard as they are excessively dependent on coal. Hence, detailed PRA (participatory rural appraisal) and micro-level livelihood planning are essential. A skill centre needs to be established or convert certain industrial facilities into training hubs that local people can access and gain from it. Advocacy with State and industry is crucial. Agriculture and agri-allied activities, adoption of high-value a

Old contractors' diary

Way back in 1996, FaguChaudhury used to work as a contractor for CCL (Rajrappa Project) and used to engage local youth as labourers primarily for loading coal. He narrated how the local populace was solely dependent on coal only and was the only visible avenue to make quick money as opposed to rain-fed agriculture and return therein from the meager land. Even 3-4 years ago one could see trucks lining up around colliery belts and at least 1500 labor could be seen busy loading coal. This has become an occasional affair and the KantaGhar, once a Today owing to mine closure and or relatively lesser mining and transpo

Few ground-level stories from the TERI team’s field visits are detailed below

The field visits to Jharkhand and interaction with some stakeholders in the coal value chain throws light on the plight of local people on the ground in the wake of closure or reduced mining, their overall preparedness towards a transition from coal, and the need for the planned closure of coal mining in an inclusive way to ensure the resilience of communities in and around mines. The varied views and anecdotes captured here open up the space for further deliberation and collective planning to adapt to the changing technological, socioeconomic, environmental demands and mitigate future risks.  Old contracto

Development at what cost and for whom?​

Coal, on one hand, generates power, revenue for the State (Jharkhand) and leads to the creation of ancillary industries and service sector economy, on the other hand, it has also created an informal coal economy and powerful lobbies around that. Pilferage of coal is rampant in local mines and it benefits several segments from the poorest who have no means for livelihood and also other parties who have vested interests and get the larger share in the process, and the same stolen coal is fed into several smaller coal-dependent industries. It is a vicious cycle. The life of those at the bottom of the pyramid seems i