Major steel producers in the country will meet the steel secretary on Thursday to discuss the issue of Jharia relocation and put forward proposals on the same.
Jharia in Dhanbad district of Jharkhand is home to country's best coking coal reserves of over 500 million tonnes.
“This will be the first of a series of brainstorming sessions that we will be having on the issue,” said Steel Secretary P.K. Rastogi. “The final call rests with the coal ministry, but we want to submit a proposal on how the relocation can be done. The overall cost may be over Rs 8-9,000 crore."
The meeting will be attended by representatives from Steel Authority of India Ltd, Tata Steel, Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd, National Mineral Development Corporation, ArcelorMittal India and Jindal South West (JWS), all of whom are interested in developing the mines under the PPP model. The relocation would involve 80,000 people and over 65,000 houses.
Coking coal, a prime ingredient in making steel, is largely imported by India. A 300 per cent jump in coal prices this year led to calls of reviving Jharia mines. The mines, owned by Coal India Ltd, have been burning for the last 90 years, posing as an environmental hazard.
"Give us 15,000 acres of land and we will set up a township on the lines of Chandigarh for rehabilitation. If the government is willing, the industry is ready to come together and collaborate in getting the mines developed and people rehabilitated," said Sajjan Jindal, Vice Chairman and Managing Director JSW Steel.