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Team, helplines to check coal theft

Dhanbad district has taken a giant step to curb coal smuggling with the constitution of a quick response team and launch of helplines for lodging complaints.

Both the measures, prompted by a directive of acting chief secretary Sajal Chakraborty, were taken on Wednesday evening.

While the quick response team will comprise district officials and policemen, the helplines — mobile number 8084382115 and landlines 0326-2311217 and 0326-2311292 — will be manned from a control room.

The cellphone number will remain active round the clock. Identities of the callers will not be revealed.

The quick response team will take immediate action on receiving complaints about smuggling besides carrying out raids to seize illegal coal. The team will also act promptly during natural disasters and accidents like mine subsidence and lightning.

“The quick response team headed by an executive magistrate will alert the civil surgeon, superintendent of PMCH, block development officer and circle officer in the case of any accident or natural disaster. It will similarly pass on the information to police,” Dhanbad subdivisional officer Abhishek Kumar Srivastava said.

A magistrate will be in charge of the control room, while another will act as the supervisor. “A strict tab will be kept on the activities of government officers and coal company officials too. Dhanbad deputy commissioner Prashant Kumar will himself take regular updates about the activities of the quick response team and the control room,” Srivastava added.