Revisiting coal cycles in Eastern India: Report of 2012 survey

Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt, David Williams, Justin Imam

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


    This report builds on a previous study (Lahiri-Dutt and Williams, 2005) of the delivery of coal by cycle around the eastern Indian coalfields of Jharkhand and West Bengal. It surveys the informal mining in this region as well as the socio-economic characteristics of those involved in this coal distribution network (mostly in the form of coke) and provides an updated estimate of the amount of coal supplied in this manner throughout It is estimated that, in 2012, about 3.7 Mtonnes of coal was transported by cycle in the study region. The coal was mined in small village-run underground mines or scavenged from the disused pits remaining from large scale mining operations. The mining and coking was often carried out by family groups, many of whom had been doing this several years. The cycle-wallahs, who may not be part of the mining/coking families, provide the transportation of this fuel to small and medium sized end-users. According to our survey, they can earn about INR 5000 (~ $100) per month, otherwise they might earn from farming, maybe, INR1500 pm. Hours can be long, maybe starting at 2am to get the coal to market A separate survey carried out in two villages highly involved in coal cutting indicated they earned about INR7000 pm. One village seemed to fairly recently lost land to the Parej project, whilst the other appeared to have lost land a generation earlier. Poverty and lack of alternative opportunities were the major driving factors for these people.
    Original languageEnglish
    Commissioning bodyArtisanal and Small-Scale Mining in the Asia-Pacific
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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