ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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COAL-Still Close-Fisted on Welfare

Still Close-Fisted on Welfare Arun Sinha THE nationalisation of coal industry seems to have had little impact on the problem of miners' welfare. While the wages have gone up, even a casual round of the 'drum-das' of Dhanbad reveals that problems of housing, medical care, water supply, debt redemption, etc, have hardly been tackled. (A dhowda is generally a low-eeilinged two-room habitat with the rooms measuring on the average eight feet by five feet.) While most of these dhowdas had been built by the private owners, a few barrack-type tenements have also been constructed by the state housing board after nationalisation. Taken together, these houses hardly accommodate one-third of the workers' population. At Hajpura opencast mine in the Mugma Area of Eastern Coalfields, a large hall not originally built to house miners, today has about 150 persons occupying it; they cook outside, where they sleep too in summer. Such awful conditions of 'housing' are not uncommon.

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