Jharia Rehabilitation Development Authority (JRDA), along with BCCL, on Monday convened a meeting with residents of Bokapahari at the district collectorate wherein they proposed shifting of fire-affected families to reclaimed mining land.
The meeting, which was attended by Dhanbad deputy commissioner Prashant Kumar, JRDA rehabilitation and resettlement in-charge Gopalji, general manager of Bastacola area of BCCL B.C. Nayak and representatives of Bokapahari residents, saw the issue of stalled rehabilitation of 272 families being taken up.
Interestingly, the 272 families — all non-BCCL employees — have refused to move out of Bokapahari, which is one of the five most vulnerable areas, liable to be affected by the underground fire.
According to an action plan for rehabilitation prepared by a committee headed by T.P. Sinha, the then advisor to the Governor S.S. Razi, in 2009, BCCL’s Bhuli township was to be cleared of encroachments for the resettlement of 772 Bokapahari families affected by the underground fire.
The authorities, however, could not immediately clear out the encroachers from Bhuli and faced local protests. The JRDA then proposed shifting the families to 2,352 quarters in Belgarhia.
While 500 families agreed to move to Belgharia, the shifting process, which began on May 25, 2010, the remaining refused to shift and opted to move to Bhuli.
The authorities, however, in face of local and political protests over the removal of encroachments could not shift them to Bhuli and instead asked them to shift to Belgarhia, which they refused.
The families instead demanded monetary compensation and land from BCCL. They also were adamant that the JRDA provide them with ID cards that were being provided to residents of all fire affected areas.
JRDA rehabilitation in-charge Gopalji however denied claims that ID cards had not been distributed.
“All the families living in Bokapahari have been provided with identity cards after a survey. We have requested the BCCL authorities to shift the remaining families to mining land that has been acquired again,” he said.