Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is resolute in his desire to relocate over 100 000 people living near coalfields in eastern India. The move will make it easier to douse underground fires and mine large reserves of premium coal.
One of Modi's most concrete achievements during his first year in office has been the revival of coal output from India's nationalised sector. The Prime Minister hopes that the resurgence will secure continuous power to all corners of India and decrease the annual coal import bill of US$15 billion.
The burning deposits of Jharia are particularly sought after as they are India’s only source of top quality steelmaking coal. India spends US$4 billion a year on importing that grade alone.
Over the first months of 2015, about 1000 families have moved to two-bedroom flats away from the mines and hundreds of acres of land have been bought for more houses. Costs are likely to increase from an early estimate of US$1 billion.
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