Making Coal Mining Possible: The Success Story
Background: Pakri Barwadih Coal mines had been allocated to NTPC Ltd, the leading PSU of the Government of India in the power sector. It is one of the biggest ventures of NTPC located 25 kilometers from the Hazaribagh district in the Barkagaon block, at Langatu in Jharkhand. This project was being pursued by NTPC Ltd, since 12 long years. The mining contract was initially awarded to Thiess Minecs India in Nov, 2010, an Australian Mining Company. In September 2015, Thriveni Sainik Mining was appointed the MDO for the project by NTPC and is successfully executing the coal mining operations. It has delivered its first rake of coal in February, 2017.
Challenges: The biggest challenge that the team Thriveni Sainik Mining faced was convincing the villagers about the larger picture and the benefits that mining in that area would yield to them. Team Thriveni Sainik Mining studied the area, the people and their needs. They needed Healthcare the most, as there were no medical facilities available within 30 kilometers of the periphery. So Thriveni Sainik established a fully automatic bio-chemistry laboratory and provided free and quality healthcare to the villagers. People started gaining confidence and then the team Thriveni Sainik Mining started talking to the villagers. Soon, people started releasing that their dreams were linked to the dreams of the company.
Solution: Thriveni Sainik adopted a unique model of "Social license" for engaging the local community and at the same time contributing to the development engine of the country by supplying coal to NTPC. Team Thriveni Sainik Mining was aware of the ground reality of the area, so the first thing they did was conducting a survey of a bunch of villagers to identify their pressing needs. The company had identified six areas namely, Healthcare, Drinking Water, Employment, Education and Skill Development, Electricity and Infrastructure.
In March, 2016 Thriveni Sainik Mining, opened a Dispensary at Darikalan village with full-time medical staff and free medicines. Today on an average 200 patients visit the Dispensary. After healthcare, TSMPL provided water tankers and bore wells in eight villages that suffered acute water shortage in summer. Next was the erection of pillars for bringing electricity to villages that were in darkness for ages. The company also built road, bridges and cleared forest and made inaccessibility disappear.
Then came the question of Livelihood, people of that area were not willing to let go of their lands as they considered it to be the only source of livelihood. So team Thriveni Sainik Mining provided alternatives through Vocational Training and Employment in the mines. It tied up with “Parfi-Gurukul” for skill development of the project affected people (PAP) and started providing training for tailoring to 200 women folks for a local garments manufacturing unit named ”Thriveni Apparels and Textiles Private Limited”. The company gives security guard’s' training to eligible youths at “Thriveni Industrial Security Academy”, Joda, Odisha. The company has also tied with “Volvo”, the vehicle manufacturing unit in Bangalore for training local youth in driving large vehicles. All these people are given employment by Thriveni Sainik Mining, after successful completion of training. Thriveni Sainik Mining Private Limited has given direct employment to around 1000 project affected people (PAP) and 400 indirectly.
Conclusion: These welfare measures have paved the way for spontaneous participation of the local people, the same set of people that had resisted the project for a decade or so, have helped Thriveni Sainik Mining to kick start its operations only within a couple of months. Today Thriveni Sainik Mining is successfully operating its coal mining operation with an annual production of 15 million metric tons.