Knowledge Resource - Research Articles

Migrant Workers in the Coal Mines of India: Precarity, Resilience and the Pandemic

Suravee Nayak
This paper explores the current precarious employment situations and resiliency of migrant workers in India who have experienced life under several coal mining regimes. The author makes the case that the labouring lives of migrant workers from marginalised communities have been hidden in a "shadow economy" of coal extraction through subcontracting and labour recruitment by local contractors working with state-owned coal companies, drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in the Talcher coalfields of Odisha.

Understanding Labour through the Lens of Intersectionality: A Case of Mining Labour in Odisha

Suravee Nayak
There have been few attempts to address the power dynamics that emerge from the junction of social structures like class, caste, gender, and ethnicity and shape everyday labour experiences. This essay underlines the need for an intersectional approach to the study of labour and how such a critical lens can be used through interdisciplinary work, where political economics provides the ideal environment. I make an attempt to demonstrate how the concept of "intersectionality" improves our comprehension of various working situations by using the example of coal mining labour in Odisha.

A “do or die” agitation against coal pollution in Odisha

Meena Menon
There has been no relief for the villagers who live close to the Kulda opencast mine in Sundargarh district of Odisha for more than ten years despite numerous protests and legal actions. The locals ultimately began a "do or die" agitation in January 2021, which is still going strong despite the local government's harsh measures against them. The project's operator, The Mahanadi Coalfields Limited, has assured the community that the concerns raised by the community will be addressed over the next months.

Black paddy, black lungs: How coal mining has wrought havoc in Odisha’s Sundergarh

Charudutta Panigrahi
Odisha's Sundergarh is known as a "dark land." No, the earth is not black. The region is a coal mining area, and the activity has severely harmed the health and way of life of the locals, primarily indigenous groups like the Hill Khadia, Bhuyan, and Gonds. The Sundergarh district's Hemagir block is engulfed in poisonous black coal dust. This is due to the 3,500 trucks that transport coal from surrounding open cast mines everyday via 45 villages. Coal mining has negative health effects that are severe. It causes a number of lung illnesses, including as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and coal workers'

Adivasi women from mining-affected forests say “no” to coal

Without their permission, coal mines have sprung up all around Adivasi or Indigenous communities in Chhattisgarh state of India since the early 1990s, hurting their way of life, connection to their forests, and health. Local human rights advocate Savita Rath, a member of the GAGGA network, works closely with women in mining-affected villages to build their capacity, safeguard their natural resources, interact with the media, and refuse to allow mining on their property. Savita and local Adivasi women have led peaceful annual rallies encompassing hundreds of villages in Raigarh since 2008 to defend their lan

119 DMF projects for mining-hit gram panchayats get green signal

The Sundargarh administration authorised 119 development projects for five gramme panchayats (GPs) in Hemgir block affected by coal mining on Thursday amid allegations of insufficient District Mineral Foundation (DMF) budget spending in mining-stricken regions.

Moving away from coal: Livelihoods of Odisha's mine workers need to be protected

Charudutta Panigrahi
Domestic violence incidents have grown as a result of joblessness and the financial strain of supporting families, with household earnings having decreased by more than half since the mining ban. The governmental decisions to limit mining have had the greatest negative effects on women and children. In Odisha, there is something akin to a $34 million green climate fund. For Just Transition, a bigger pool is required.

Coal mining in Odisha: An analysis of impacts on agricultural production and human health

Padmanabha Hota, Bhagirath Behera
In one of the most significant mining locations in the Indian state of Odisha, this study evaluates the costs of coal mining on agricultural and human health. The study is based on household-level data obtained from two control (unpolluted) villages in western Odisha's Ib Valley region and four mining-related (polluted) villages. The findings show that the mining villages' average yield per acre is considerably lower than that of the control villages. Males are less prone than females to experience respiratory disease. Furthermore, respiratory diseases are less common in households with higher literacy rate

Ignored and invisible: The burden of mining on women

Mayank Aggarwal
While the loss of land and livelihood is a more frequently discussed effect of mining, local women also experience an invisible impact, including social structures being disrupted, the burden of earning additional income, long-term mental health issues, and a change from being independent cultivators to being dependent on others for survival. According to specialists and organisations active throughout India, incidences of sexual assault against women and human trafficking are increasing wherever mining operations are taking place. Women had job restrictions in the mining industry until recently. Contrary t

Women, Energy And Empowerment

Jaideep Mukherji
When women and girls have access to affordable, dependable energy, unpaid work is less demanding and time-consuming, allowing them to pursue chances for education, earning an income, volunteering, or pleasure. Furthermore, reputable studies have connected renewable energy availability to increased odds of girls finishing their elementary school, higher wages for women, and even a decline in gender-based violence. According to a World Bank paper, household electrification in rural India increased women's non-farm self-employment significantly, albeit somewhat, and had a beneficial impact on girls' school att

Just transition: An essential pathway to achieving gender equality and social justice | UNFCCC

The paper aims to assist Parties, Non-Party stakeholders, and UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies in clarifying how a just transition is critical to making climate action in the workplace gender-responsive. It emphasises the gendered dimension of the threats faced in the workplace as a result of the effects of climate change as well as climate policies that do not prioritise decent work, which is defined as "productive work [for women and men] in conditions of freedom, equity, security, and human dignity."

People living near mining activities at increased risk of diseases, says study

Mayank Aggarwal, Sahana Ghosh
According to a government study, mining activities in Chhattisgarh's coal-rich Tamnar area have put the local population, primarily tribal people, at an increased risk of acute respiratory diseases and tuberculosis. According to the study, the disease burden rate for tuberculosis in Tamnar is nearly double the national rate and nearly triple the state rate, highlighting the negative impact of mining. Experts believe a similar story is playing out in all resource-rich areas of India, where local people are suffering due to a lack of proper checks and balances on mining activities.

As India looks to shift to renewables, Jharkhand's coal mine workers fear loss of jobs and social security

Manish Kumar
Jharkhand has India's largest coal reserves, with approximately 300,000 people directly dependent on mining for a living. As the debate over Just Transition takes centre stage, coal miners are concerned about pensions, healthcare, water, power, housing, and other amenities that may be jeopardised. Workers, unions, and coal sector experts believe that a planned energy transition could ensure justice for those who rely on coal mining directly or indirectly.

District Mineral Foundation Funds: Evaluating the Performance

Rajesh Chaddha, Ishita Kapoor , CSEP
The District Mineral Foundation Funds (DMF) programme was launched by the government in 2015 as a benefit-sharing programme with the communities impacted by mining. The mining corporations would pay 30% of the royalty amount for leases awarded prior to 2015 and 10% for leases granted post-2015 via the auction procedure under the DMF scheme. The Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana is connected to independent, non-profit DMF funds (PMKKKY). It carries out a number of welfare initiatives for the environment and communities impacted by mining. The DMF funding should be used for high-priority areas to th

Unheard and Unseen: Mining Women in British India

Urvi Khaitan , Social History Society, UK
The lives of mining women in colonial India were marked by multiple marginalizations: as subjects, Adivasi or lower caste women, illiterate and extremely underpaid labourers working in isolated rural areas, and engaging in a profession that literally made them invisible by putting them underground. In this sense, they are women beneath the surface, both literally and figuratively. The nature of mining women's participation in coal mining in colonial India is described in this article.

Women beneath the Surface: Coal and the Colonial State in India during the Second World War

Urvi Khaitan
In British India, a six-year ban on women working underground was lifted in 1943 as a result of a quickly intensifying Allied coal crisis. Between August 1943 and February 1946, more than 70,000 low-caste and adivasi (indigenous) women saved the monthly loss of 385,000 tonnes of coal by maintaining output levels and fighting the war's-induced Bengal Famine. Their employment aroused enormous indignation from the general public, the press, and parliaments, leading for the first time to a transnational discourse on Indian women labourers. While this was going on, the desperate colonial authority threatened min

From Gin Girls to Scavengers: Women in Raniganj Collieries

Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt
Women from lower caste and adivasi populations were initially employed by the coal mining business in various production phases. As long as technology remained labor-intensive and collieries remained tiny and surface-bound, their position remained crucial. Women's participation decreased as the sector grew and became more mechanised. This paper describes how the work of resource extraction becomes gendered, the increasing marginalisation of women, their alienation from access to environmental resources, and their transformation into illegitimate and invisible beings. It is based on research conducted in the

How to avoid unjust energy transitions: insights from the Ruhr region

Anmol Arora
This study outlines the two phases of transitions from coal in Germany with respective historical background. The case study of Ruhr is taken as a vantage point to present the implementation of legislations and policies reflecting ideals of just transitions. It shows the positive, and negative consequences of Ruhr’s transition away from coal.

Closing the enforcement gap: Groundtruthing of environmental violations in Sundargarh, Odisha

This report highlights the gaps between existing policies, and their implementation in the Sundargarh region. Case studies are presented along with information of legislation and policies violated representing group-reality. The report formulates needs of the community linking the issues faced with existing mechanisms to provide solutions.

We never imagined that coal will disappear one day!

Joshi S , TERI , TERI , 23 May 2021
The article explores the various dimensions that inform a just transition and the complexities involved in moving away from coal through a case study of Betul which has seen a spate of coal mine closures, due to mineral exhaustion.A case study by TERI, on the impact of the closure of coal mines in Betul, a district in Madhya Pradesh with a mining history of 150 years, sheds light on these issues and the growing need to recognize 'just transition' when moving away from coal. The study observed that by 2030, 46% of the workforce strength of 2019 that is employed in mining in Betul, will retire

Assessing Vulnerability from Coal Dependence and Need for a Just Transition

Bhattacharjya, S., Gupta, R., Mini, G., Chaudhury, S., Juneja, M., Sharma, K , TERI , TERI , 23 Jun 2021
Since the earliest times when coal was mined, it has played a central role in the regional and local economies. It induced growth around its milieu, be it revenue receipt of the state, urbanization, governance institutions, infrastructural development, amongst others. Hence coal has not just contributed in economic growth, but many of thedevelopment objectives could not have been achieved without the contribution of (coal-based) fossil fuels. Industrialization has primarily driven the manufacturing sector and created jobs and value added along the supply chains of material goods.

Harnessing opportunities for a Just Transition in India’

Bhattacharjya, S, Gupta R, Mini G, Chaudhury S, Juneja M, Sharma K , TERI , TERI , 23 Jun 2021
India’s need for clean and affordable energy is extremely critical for supporting economic activities and for addressing numerous developmental challenges faced by the country. The earlier paper had undertaken a deep investigation of the linkages that surround the Indian coal economy and the possible economic, societal and cultural implications particularly in mining rich states as we may witness phasing out coal. The aspect of ‘Just Transition’ and it’s concomitance with the energy transition in India becomes imperative.

Coal transition in India

Spencer T, Pachouri R, Renjith G,i Vohra S , TERI 10 Dec 2018
India is the second most populous country in the world with 1.3 billion people in 2017, and its population is projected to increase to 1.5 billion by 2030. The Indian economy is one of the fastest growing major economies of the world. Over the last seven years the GDP growth rate has averaged 7.3%, and is projected to be in the order of 7.9% over the coming five years. India is still a lowi ncome country with high levels of material deprivation for large shares of its population.

Enabling a Rapid and Just Transition Away from Coal in China

He G, Lin J, Zhang Y et al. , Elsevier Inc. , One Earth 3( 2): 187-194p. , 31 Dec 2019
As the world's largest coal producer and consumer, China's transition from coal to cleaner energy sources is critical for achieving global decarbonization. Increasing regulations on air pollution and carbon emissions and decreasing costs of renewables drive China's transition away from coal; however, this transition also has implications for employment and social justice. Here, we assess China's current coal-transition policies, their barriers, and the potential for an accelerated transition, as well as the associated environmental, human health, and employment and social justice issues that may arise from the tr

Comparing Coal Phase-out Pathways: The United Kingdom’s and Germany’s Diverging Transitions

Brauers H, Oei P-Y, Walk P , Elsevier B.V. , Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 37 (2020) 238–253p. , 30 Sep 2020
Political decisions and trends regarding coal use for electricity generation developed differently in the UK and Germany, despite being subject to relatively similar climate protection targets and general political and economic conditions. The UK agreed on a coal phase-out by 2024. In Germany, a law schedules a coal phase-out by 2038 at the latest. This paper investigates reasons for the different developments and aims to identify main hurdles and drivers of coal phase-outs by using the Triple Embeddedness Framework. The comparative case study approach reveals that policy outcomes regarding coal consumption are d

Just Transition in Coal: A Perspective from Jharkhand

Bhushan C, Banerjee S, Agarwal S , Sameeksha Trust (India) , Economic & Political Weekly 56(29) , 16 Jul 2021
The article discusses why it is an imperative for India to begin deliberation on a just transition from coal in light of some of the compelling factors. It then evaluates what a just transition in India might entail building on an on-ground study of a coal district in Jharkhand, one of India’s top coal mining states. And finally, it outlines the planning and policy considerations that will be necessary to support a just transition.

The Sociopolitical Dynamics of Coal Transition in India 

Janardhanan N, Tamura K , SAGE Publishing , International Studies 57(2): 171-185p. , 26 Apr 2020
Energy transition has been gaining significant policy attention in India, especially in the backdrop of the concerns about growing emissions from fossil fuels and the need for cleaner energy services. However, this has been one of the strategic dilemmas for the country. On the one hand, the increasing demand for fossil fuels is prompting critical policy actions to minimize the energy-related emissions and reduce the dependency on the same. On the other hand, the national economic targets that demand high growth have been pivotal in pushing the energy demand growth and have also been unable to shift away from the

Review of Transition Paths for Coal-fired Power Plants

Song F, Mehedi H, Liang C. et al. , Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization. Pr , Global Energy Interconnection, 4(4): 354-370p. , 24 Aug 2021
The energy sector has an essential role in limiting the global average temperature increase to below 2 °C. Redirecting and advancing technological progress contribute to carbon-free transition solutions. Energy transition is currently one of the most debated issues in the world. This paper reviews and summarizes the current policy projections and their assumptions organized by some major countries in the energy sector, particularly in the coal sector, and provides a detailed discussion on specific and significant socio-technical pathways taken by countries to achieve zero-carbon targets

Transition to Clean Coal Technologies in India

Patil AC , Elsevier Inc. , Computer Aided Chemical Engineering, 27: 1731-1736p. , 31 Dec 2008
India has the third largest proven reserves of coal in the world and it is obvious that coal will play a major role in its future development. It is well documented that coal is not an environmentally friendly fuel, unless it is utilized in cooperation with clean coal technologies. This paper uses the Transition Management approach to devise a framework for the transition towards clean coal technologies in India. The concept of Transition Management is firmly rooted in the traditions of system thinking that highlights the co-evolution of the socio-technical systems.

The Future of Coal in a Carbon-Constrained Climate

Jakob M, Steckel JC, Jotzo F, et al. , Springer Nature , Nature Climate Change, 10(8): 704-707 , 26 Jul 2020
Phasing out coal requires expanding the notion of a ‘just transition’ and a roadmap that specifies the sequence of coal plant retirement, the appropriate policy instruments as well as ways to include key stakeholders in the process.

India’s New Coal Geography: Coastal Transformations, Imported Fuel and State-Business Collaboration in the Transition to More Fossil Fuel Energy

Oskarsson P, Nielsen KB, Lahiri-Dutt K, Roy B , ELsevier Ltd. T , Energy Research & Social Science, 73, 101903: 1-10p. , 28 Feb 2021
The advance of renewable energy around the world has kindled hopes that coal-based energy is on the way out. Recent data, however, make it clear that growing coal consumption in India coupled with its continued use in China keeps coal-based energy at 40 percent of the world’s heat and power generation. To address the consolidation of coal-based power in India, this article analyses an energy transition to, rather than away from, carbon-intensive energy over the past two decades. We term this transition India’s new coal geography; the new coal geography comprises new ports and thermal power plants run

Accelerating the Coal Transition

Chattopadhyay D, Bazilian MD, Handler B, Govindarajalu C , Elsevier Inc. , Electricity Journal, 34(2), 106906 , 31 Dec 2020
The cost of wind, solar, and most recently battery storage has fallen dramatically over the last decade, providing the economic rationale for their widespread adoption to help mitigate climate change. This, coupled with the low cost of natural gas, has provided a key challenge in the power sector: how to economically and equitably decommission ∼2000 GW of installed coal capacity? Although a significant part of the existing coal capacity is older, inefficient, and unprofitable, there are complex technical, social and economic challenges that remain. This Comment provides a general framework for the key techn

Coal Transitions—Part 1: A Systematic Map and Review of Case Study Learnings from Regional, National, and Local Coal Phase-Out Experiences

Diluiso F, Walk P, Manych Net al. , IOP Publishing , Environmental Research Letters16, 113003: 1-47 p , 20 Oct 2021
A rapid coal phase-out is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, but is hindered by serious challenges ranging from vested interests to the risks of social disruption. To understand how to organize a global coal phase-out, it is crucial to go beyond cost-effective climate mitigation scenarios and learn from the experience of previous coal transitions. Despite the relevance of the topic, evidence remains fragmented throughout different research fields, and not easily accessible. To address this gap, this paper provides a systematic map and comprehensive review of the literature on historical coal transit

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