Illegal coal mining is rampant in Jharkhand, with around 720,000 tonnes of the mineral being smuggled every year and causing a massive revenue loss. Around 18,000 people are involved in the illegal mining activities, transporting the coal on bicycles. According to an estimate, the Jharkhand government and the coal companies lose more than Rs.500 to Rs.600 crore every year due to coal smuggling.
Coal smuggling is done from both abandoned and operating mines of the three state-owned coal companies — CCL, Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL) and Eastern Coalfield Ltd (ECL). The coal companies on several occasions have taken up the issue of illegal mining with the state government. There is a proposal to form cooperatives at the villages where the practice is rampant. The villagers will get money from the cooperatives for extracting coal. Providing security cover to the coal mining areas is not possible.
These illegal minings are very dangerous and no safety precautions are taken. There are many incidents of death of poor miners, many of them go unreported. Carrying coals on cycles and pushing them up the hills are also a very tough job. But, it goes on daily.