Fakodih: The Fire Within

Every single video that Community Correspondent Mohan Bhuiyan has made in the last year has documented various ways in which his village is battling for survival. Mohan’s village is nestled between the minefields of Tata and Central Coalfields Ltd, India. These companies have mined recklessly leading to multiple health hazards for the people of Fakodih village and at least ten other villages. Depletion of water resources, dumping of mining debris, large scale deforestation and degradation of the land and soil, toxic fumes and the threat of eviction are crises that Mohan and his people live with everyday.  Today Mohan brings us yet another video showing how his village is literally burning up from within. About the video: Not 500 meters from Mohan’s house, a coal fire rages below the surface of the earth engulfing kilometers of precious coal. This fire started almost three years ago, and very little is being done to control it. In fact, it seems like more efforts are being made to hide the fire! The villagers are suffering from tuberculosis and respiratory problems. They are fully aware of the fact that this fire, if not controlled, will ultimately lead to the subsidence of the meager infrastructure on the surface. It is a well known fact that coal fires are extremely hazardous for health and safety. Coal fires are fast becoming a global threat as they have significant economic, social & economic impacts. They release fly ash and smoke laden with greenhouse gases and toxic chemicals like carbon-monoxide (CO), carbon-dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrous oxides (NOx) amongst others. They also lead to rising surface temperatures and contamination of soil and groundwater. While the villagers are holding on to their houses and land tenaciously in the hope for some compensation, the fight seems  to be getting increasingly futile.
IU Community Correspondent Mohan says “ Tata & CCL companies came to our village almost 20 years ago with  promises of water, education, health, employment & development. Today, CCL is conducting the surveys which come prior to our eviction, and Tata requires us to apply 10-15 days in advance for clean drinking water.
They have rarely given a thought to us, and how their indiscriminate mining affects us. They haven’t even given us any kind of compensation for the land acquisition, which is why we are refusing to move. We have been living a life of hell – everything we know and have been dependent on has been destroyed. From a self sufficient agricultural village we have been pushed into destitution. And make matters worse, this fire is about to consume us.
Coal is a natural resource that takes years to form. These companies are mining indiscriminately, with no regard to the lives of those affected. Now they are also being irresponsible about the mining and wasting this valuable resource.”
Call to Action:  Mohan requests you to call the General Manager of TATA, Mr Rajoria on 06545262486 and demand that concrete steps be taken to stop the fire and prevent the damage being caused to the environment and communities.
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 Article by: Radhika Gupta
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