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Jharkhand’s Jharia fire zone will now be a tourist site

india Updated: Dec 14, 2016 13:52 IST
Pankaj Kumar
Pankaj Kumar
Hindustan Times, Dhanbad

Kids of Lodhna colony play on the area affected by underground fire in Dhanbad.(HT Photo)

Coal mining major Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL) has prepared a comprehensive plan of packaged tours to monetise a fire zone area in Jharia that once destroyed many mines. The tours would also showcase mining operations.

A fire zone area is a place where underground fire rages in a coal mine which also renders the surface area unsafe. Once the fire dies, many of these areas are reclaimed through eco restoration work.

“Initially it will be free of cost but depending on the response, it will be made chargeable,” EVS Raju general manager, environment department who is working on the project, told HT. The charges would be to meet incidental costs only, he said .

“Working on the advice of the chairman-cum-managing director of the company, we have chalked out four circuit tours,” he said.

The tours would commence form Koyla Bhawan,the company’s headquarters. The first tour would be a day-long site seeing trip of Lodna fire area and eco restoration works carried out by the company on reclaimed fire land.

Another tour would be on working of Moonidih mechanised mines, night visit of fire area with trained guides while the third and last tour will be a trip to see mining, loading and washaries operations to make people aware of the hard work done by coal miners.

The company also plans to have a separate circuit by tagging a religious location with the tour to attract people in cooperation with the district administration and tourism department, Raju said.

“Initially, we have written to all schools of the district to send the school children for a visit to the fire area reclaimed and rehabilitated under the eco restoration project,” Raju said.

This site in Lodna area of the fire hit Jharia coalfield was reclaimed under wet land eco system by developing ponds and parks. The BCCL has also developed green cover area at other fire locations too.

Last month, hundreds of school kids had visited this site and also saw mining operations in fire hit location, said Raju. “We have received positive and encouraging feedback from the school students who had visited the spot,” Raju said.