Members of the Indian Mine Managers Association (IMMA) in Dhanbad are up in arms against the proposed Mines (Amendment) Bill 2011, which calls for substantial increase in punishment including penalty and imprisonment in case of accidents in mines.
The agitators on Saturday launched a signature campaign at BCCL’s Digwadih area. This will be followed by an awareness drive.
During the campaign, IMMA members will visit different mines across the country and inform people engaged in mining about the alleged draconian provisions of the bill.
The protestors are also planning to sit on a dharna before the mines regulatory authority and Directorate General of Mines Safety to press for withdrawing 13 out of the 21 provisions of the bill.
The draft bill was recommended by a standing committee headed by Sri Hemanand Biswal and was tabled in the Rajya Sabha in March 2011.
Speaking to The Telegraph, IMMA president Vinod P. Sinha said their agitation will continue until the government takes any concrete action.
“We would apprise the Prime Minister, coal minister, labour and employment minister and law and justice minister via their secretaries and also through MPs and MLAs about the ill effects of the bill. The proposed amendments would deter young officers from joining the mining industry, fearing punishment. Crisis in the mining industry would hamper power generation and ultimately the economy and development of the nation would be affected,” said Sinha, who was also the former general manager and advisor of Tata Steel.
Echoing sentiments, secretary of IMMA, Jharia division, V.K. Shah said the existing provisions of the Mines Act, 1952 are sufficient enough to fix responsibilities and ensure punishment for the concerned people in case of accidents.