Minister of state (independent charge) for power, coal, new and renewable energy, Piyush Goyal, on Tuesday, announced a safety audit of all 418 mines in India after 18 people were killed in a mine collapse at Godda in Jharkhand on December 29 last week.
“...The audit would be done by the director general of mines and safety (DGMS). If needed, we would take assistance and expert opinion from an independent third party,” he said while speaking on the sidelines of a programme here.
The 418 mines have been categorised into three types. Mines with an annual composite production of more than five million cubic metres (large mines) will be audited first. There are 58 such mines in India.
The audit for medium mines (annual composite capacity of one to five million cubic metres) and small mines (annual composite capacity of less than one million cubic metres) will be carried out later.
“All aspects of safety, including fire, subsidence, inundation and gas leakage, among others, would be looked into while conducting the audit. Every mine would henceforth have to submit a monthly report on what steps they are taking to implement the safety standards,” he added.
The minister said that he has also ordered a detailed investigation of the mine collapse, both by the DGMS and a team of experts.
While 18 bodies have already been recovered from the collapsed mine, rescue operations are still on. The Union government has already announced an ex-gratia of `5 lakh for each family that has lost a member.
“I am extremely disturbed with the accident... I will leave no stone unturned to bring out the truth. Strict action would be taken against anyone found guilty,” Goyal said.
The ministry is also planning to install hi-tech equipment inside mines to help reduce the number of accidents.
“We would be installing anti-pollution devices in dumpers of open cast mines, gas monitoring systems, electronic tele-monitoring systems, which are like online monitoring systems. We are also planning to set up geo-technical cells comprising geologists for large projects,” Goyal said.