New Delhi: Calling Dhanbad district a "hotbed"
of gangs indulging in illicit coal trade, the National Human
Rights Commission(NHRC) on Monday issued notice to Jharkhand
Government over economic hardships faced by tribals and
"illegal mining" in the Naxal affected area.
The Commission said that "abject poverty" was the reason
behind spread of Naxalism in the region.
Regarding mining, the NHRC said that gangs were
recruiting local tribals to illegally mine coal and pointed
out the inadequate response to the threat posed by underground
coal fires in the region. It also shared other findings made
by its team about the ground situation prevailing in Dhanbad.
"Gangs recruit tribals to illegally mine coal for them
and carry it to distant collection points. While going from
Ranchi to Dhanbad, one could see beeline of cycles, carrying
coal, up steep gradients," the NHRC said in a press statement.
"In the process of illegal mining many people are killed,
but matters are not reported under the influence of the
gangsters and due to the economic compulsions faced by the
tribals," the statement added.
The Commission also observed that no action had been
taken to either control the coal mafia or bring the illegal
trade in the ambit of legal procurement.
Through the notice issued to the state`s Chief Secretary
today, the NHRC has now asked for a detailed report on
"economic hardships to tribals, illegal coal mining and
trading leading to killing of many locals who are virtually
living in sub human existence."
The NHRC findings also point to an alarming situation
prevailing in the district due to underground coal fires and
tardy implementation of rehabilitation plans.