The Union Minister for Railways and Coal Piyush Goyalchaired the 42nd meeting of the Standing Committee on Safety in Coal mines in New Delhi today. Shri Goyal emphasized that ensuring safety of the workmen in coal mines is of utmost importance. The Minister said “Ensuring safety at work place, proper health facilities to coal mine workers and also ensuring minimum wages to the workers has to be given due importance to instill safety-culture in all our coal mines, particularly in view of the future mechanization of our operations.”The Minister added that the yardstick of safety, provisioning of health services and minimum wages will be kept in mind during the forthcoming bidding process.Shri Goyal invited the participating stakeholders to share their views for furthering the cause of safety in the coal industry. Today’s meeting was attended by Secretary (Coal) Shri Susheel Kumar, Additional Secretary (Coal) Shri Suresh Kumar, Chairman CIL, Shri Gopal Singh, Deputy Director General of Mine Safety, Shri BP Singh, and Trade Union Leaders Dr. BK Rai (BMS), Shri Surendra Pandey (BMS), Shri Nathu Lal Pandey (HMS), Shri CJ Joseph (AITUC), Shri Manas Mukherjee (CITU), Shri VP Singh (CMOAI) and Dr. VP Sinha (IMMA). In the said meeting, CMDs of CIL subsidiary companies, Director (Tech), SCCL, Director (Tech), NLCIL, Director (Tech), CIL, Director (P&IR), CIL and the representatives from private coal companies were also present.A brief presentation was made by Dr. Anindya Sinha, Project Adviser, MoC on the safety related aspects; the Action Taken and development made during the said period by the coal/ lignite companies to keep the mines safe and to attend “Zero Accident” potential. It was informed that there has been significant improvement in the safety records as number of fatalities has dropped significantly despite high increase in coal production.
The R&D activities being taken up by the coal/ lignite companies for improving the safety standards were also discussed.The issues deliberated during the meeting included Upgradation of hospitals and dispensaries to cater to the needs of mine workers; Creation of web-portal to exhibit the status of various medical facilities provided to the mine workers and related aspects;Filling up the vacancies of statutory manpower by competent departmental officials;Installation of man-riding system in all underground mines, wherever feasible;Strengthening of strata control cell of the coal companies;Provisioning of light-weight batteries for cap-lamp of underground mine uses;Use of the blasting free underground mining technology ;Training of the contractual workers as also Amendment of the Rescue Rule to include opencast mines, etc.Fast-tracking postings of doctors to fill up the existing vacancies in all the Hospitals of Coal India Limited and its subsidiaries was also discussed in detail. The Minister directed that by the next meeting thewebsite should be made detailing the medical facilities in every unit - the medical facilities desired; facilities as currently available; and resultantly their shortfall - reasons for the shortfall and action taken /to be taken, so that the due information is transparently available to all concerned. It was emphasized that the Budget provisions for Safety should be fully utilized in 2018-19.Minister Shri Goyal also advised the officials to ensure that due help is provided to the dependents of victims of coal mine tragedies to file their claims promptly. The Minister emphasized that the Management should compassionately and proactivelyensure disbursal of the claims due. It was noted that the tool of close monitoring of safety parameters across all coal mines as discussed in the last emergency review meeting held on 03.01.17 following Rajmahal mishap is worth emulation by other companies.According due importance to regular meetings to be held of the Standing Committee on Safety in coal mines, it was decided that dates will be fixed in advance to ensure the two annual meetings of the Committee. The Standing Committee on Safety serves as a very important forum for coal sector in improving safety standards in the Mines.