Living with coal in India: A temporal study of livelihood changes

Patrik Oskarsson, Radhika Krishnan, Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    This article asks what it is like for the rural poor to live with coal over time as mines expand and agriculture and forest-dependent ways of living inevitably become more restricted. Research on the expansion of open pit coal mining in India shows a widespread inability to appropriately compensate the rural poor for lost land and access to common property resources. Yet it is simultaneously clear that the growth of coal extraction over time ensures increased community dependence on mainly informal, coal-based livelihoods. What then happens over the long-term for people who live in and around the coalfields? Drawing on evidence from 2011 to 2022, this article explores longer term changes for mine-affected people next to major coal mines in Telangana state, India. Specifically, it examines a) the acquisition of forest and agricultural lands for the expanding mines, b) the operating mines and their environmental implications, but also improved job opportunities, and c) mine closure as an opportunity to rehabilitate the landscape and return the land for alternative community uses post mining. The results add to the understanding of the long-term changes that large-scale mining brings to rural communities, and the challenges to a just transition once coal mining inevitably comes to an end.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-9
    JournalThe Extractive Industries and Society
    Volume17
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2024

    Cite this