You Reported
National Highway 33 (Ranchi-Hazaribagh) diversion route opens to traffic

The temporary diversion on the right side of National Highway (NH-33) near Lohagate in Ramgarh district that had caved in due to an underground fire became operational on Sunday.


The diversion was, however, opened to light and medium vehicles only on Monday. Heavy vehicles will have to follow the longer route until a permanent diversion is created.


According to Central Coalfields Limited (CCL), which built the diversion, this temporary route will once again reduce the distance between Ranchi and Patna by about 40 km. After the highway cave-in on August 9, all vehicles were diverted through Charahi and Ghato, thereby increasing the distance between Ranchi and Patna.


The coal company has also managed to control the underground fire on and along the NH by pushing in water and chemicals by drilling holes. The temperature in the fire zone, which had risen to 170 degree Celsius, has come down to 76 degree Celsius.


CCL deputy chief public relations manager, M N Jha, said though the company was not responsible for the damage or maintenance of the highway, work was done at the request of the state government. "We have spent over Rs 1.11 crore on controlling the fire in the last two months as a responsible corporate citizen. The company has spent around Rs 27 lakh on the payment of engineers and over Rs 3.5 lakh on scientific assistance. We will continue to work for society," said Jha.


CCL has also suggested that the government mine all coal under the NH so that illegal mining stops for ever. "There are too many rat holes along and under the highway that are known only to locals. Therefore, it is suggested that all the coal is excavated to put an end to chances of fire in future," said Jha.


The Bapira and Phusri bridges on the Charahi-Ghato-Nayamore route are under repair by the state road construction department, which has agreed in principle to share the cost of the emergency repair of the bridges.


TNN 30 September 2009

Koderma-Hazaribag-Barkakana-Ranchi Rail construction hits funds hurdle

The ongoing construction work of the Koderma-Hazaribag-Barkakana-Ranchi railway line connecting Hazaribag town with the railway link may be stopped due to the acute shortage of funds.


According to details available, the crisis was created by the Jharkhand government for non-release of the sum promised by it when the project was launched about nine years ago.


The report said due to the delay in completing the project by 2007-'08 as scheduled, the cost of the project escalated to over Rs 2,000 crore and one cannot say when the fund will be provided to complete the pending work by the revised target of March 2010 between Koderma and Pipradih and up to Hazaribag by the end of 2010.


This schedule was given to the commissioner of North Chhotonagpur division, A K Pandey, at a meeting held between the ECR officials and the deputy commissioners of Hazaribag, Koderma, Chatra and Ramgarh districts in the first week of July here.


There, Pandey conveyed the government's decision that full protection would be given to the railway contractors against in the wake of threat from Maoists and others. The government accordingly deployed two battatlions of IRB to maintain vigil at the construction site. Plus, all the SPs of the above-mentioned districts also provided security to the contractors and work was progressing smoothly. The commissioner told reporters later that whatever land was required by the railways for this project has been acquired and possession given to it accordingly.


Now, following the problem of fund shortage, the ECR top brass has apprised government officials in Ranchi of this. As per the agreement between the government and the railway ministry, two-third cost of this project will be provided by the state government and the rest by the Centre and, on that basis, construction work started when Marandi was the chief minister.


Though his government fulfilled the promises, subsequent governments did not release any money, resulting in work slowing down considerably.


However, according to official reports, the government released Rs 5 crore on Thursday and promised to pay another Rs 250 crore after getting it approved by Parliament.


TNN 2 October 2009 / TNN

Kuju Coalfield Fire, Jharkhand - Everyone is now paying the price for illegal mining by coal mafia since, now the routes (National Highway-33) taken by the vehicles are circuitous, unsafe and difficult.

A vast portion of National Highway-33 in eastern India connecting Ranchi with Patna, the capitals of two neighbouring states of Jharkhand and Bihar respectively, caved-in near a place named Kuju in Ramgarh district of Jharkhand on 10 August 2009.


This caving in of the highway has been attributed to a fire that has been raging from the underground coal mines in the vicinity since early morning hours of Sunday (August 10).  This happened on the stretch between Loha Gate and Kuju where instances of fire from unused or closed mines are believed to be frequent.


Reportedly, the area is rich in coalfields and was once under mining by Central Coal Fields Limited (CCI). Later, it was left abandoned, where some villagers did illegal mining and left the coal reserve exposed within the earth, which caught fire when the black diamond came in contact with air.


Consequent to the raging fire, the district administration and police officials have stopped all kind of vehicular traffic on the highway.  "Early morning at four, a portion of National Highway-33 got caved in. We have blocked the highway so that nobody can inadvertently enter here. The district administration and police officials have cordoned off the area with red cord barring any traffic inflow," said B K Singh, General Manager, Central Coal Fields Limited (CCL).


The underground mine fire was so intense that it created a deep crater on the highway disrupting the traffic and causing panic among the people residing in the nearby villages. Now, the families from these villages have been asked to vacate their homes and move on to some safer place until the fire is completely doused off.


There are around 52 homes in the surrounding villages. "The situation is really worse. We are residing in this village for the past 30-40 years. CCI (Central Coal Fields Limited) was looking after it but they are unable to do anything. Even government can't do anything. We have been given two days to vacate the village," said Santosh Kumar, a resident of a village near Kuju.


The coal mine fire has spread to the entire underground area and the solid coal base within the earth has got reduced to ashes and now slowly cracks have started appearing on the surface of the earth.





The devastating mine-fire under National Highway-33 connecting Patna with Ranchi near Kuju in Jharkhand has increased the distance between the two capitals. Reports said that the crater formed on the Ranchi-Patna Highway further widened on Tuesday.


Another crater has appeared near the old one near Loha Gate in Kuju in Ramgarh district. The diameter of crater has increased from 15 to 20 feet. The other crater is 30 metre from the Highway and is smaller in size. It is feared that more crater would come up if the fire is not brought under control soon.


Now the routes taken by the vehicles are quite circuitous. They have to go through either Bokaro or Ghato. The smaller vehicles are, however, still going through the old route via a newly built diversion along side the subsided Highway stretch. Nobody can guess how long will it take for the normalization of traffic.


The underground fire is now taking calamitous proportion. It is now an uphill task for the Coal India Limited. Local people said that had the warning signals been timely addressed the situation would not have worsened to such an extent. "We are using chemicals, foams and water to control the intensity of underground fire. Once this is done we will have to go in for open cast mining to extinguish the fire completely, and take out coal and the area will be refilled with earth," said CIL Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Rajan Kumar Saha. He said that it would take at least three months to construct a diversion near Kuju. It will be done under the CCL community development porgramme. The diversion would be builtd by the National Highway Authority of India and the CCL would provide the money. Saha attributed the devastating underground fire to miscreants involved in illegal mining.


Coal is highly combustible and when it comes in contact with oxygen it forms carbon di oxide and carbon-monoxide besides generating a lot of heat. When the heat does not dissipate it accumulates and comes out in flames. He denies that warning signals in the form of smoke billowing out from the mine were not taken seriously. He said that the CCL had abandoned that mine. The smoke started coming out of the ground only just a few days ago and the CIL took immediate action, he claimed.


The district administration as well as the local people, on the other hand, claims that the smoke had been coming out from the mines for the last several months.


Kujju Coalfield fire sparks cave-in fears

An underground blaze was reported today along the Ranchi-Patna highway (NH-33) at Kujju in Ramgarh, where coal mine fires have been raging for some time now, triggering fresh fears of land subsidence.


The source of the fire is an abandoned mine of the Central Coalfields Limited (CCL) near Loha Gate, barely 30m from the highway. Columns of flames, some as high as 300ft, were seen from a distance.


According to local residents, a portion at the spot has subsided, resulting in craters. "Thick, black smoke has covered the stretch making it difficult for us to commute as we cannot see anything. In the evening, the situation becomes more dangerous. Accidents are just waiting to happen as there are steep curves," complained a local resident, Rakesh Shankar.


A team of CCL officials visited the spot and took stock of the situation. Conceding that it was impossible to douse the flames and thus save the highway, the officials said that a diversion was the only solution.


Last week, the state road construction department had decided to construct a 765m diversion — between Lakdi Gate and Singh Hotel — to bypass the fire-ravaged area. But work is yet to start.


However, sources said that the Ramgarh administration was prepared to divert the traffic from Naya More of Kujju to reach Charhi on the highway via Ghato. But they added that it would take at least two months to construct the new route.


Hazaribagh, Aug. 6: Telegraph

Fire breaks out in illegal mines threatens Jharkhand highway, Ranchi-Ramgarh-Hazaribagh

The National Highway 33 of Jharkhand may be damaged if an ongoing underground fire further engulfs an abandoned mine of Central Coal Field Ltd (CCL) in Ramgarh district.


 "The fire has reached the national highway which is situated near the closed coal mine," a police officer said. According to CCL authorities, the fire has spread in an area of around 3,000 sq metres.


The fire was detected by local residents last week in the mine near Lohagate of Kuju colliery in Ramgarh, about 70 km from state capital Ranchi.


"The 'rat hole' was made during illegal mining and spontaneous heating of the coal caused the fire. We have started filling the void to stop spread of fire. Safety measures have been adopted," CCL General Manager (Safety) T.B. Mitra told. Though the filling work started Monday, the fire spread further Tuesday.


Coal companies are not allowed to mine around national highways. Illegal mining is the cause of the fire


Mines should be filled in after being closed by the coal companies. The companies say they fill in the mines but illegal miners become active after the mine is closed.


July 1st, 2009 / IANS



Movement of traffic on NH-33 linking Tata-Ranchi-Barhi is likely to come to a grinding halt following a major fire that has broken out in the illegal coal mines beneath the highway near Mandughati in Jharkhand's Ramghar district.


As many as five parallel tunnels have been dug by coal miners illegally connecting either side of the highway. Central Coalfields Limited (CCL) sources said the fire, which broke out almost a week back, had covered an area of about 3000 sq mtrs by Tuesday.


TOI had reported the matter in June last year saying NH-33 may suffer subsidence if illegal mining was not stopped and the tunnels were not filled up. Thousands of trucks and heavy vehicles ply over these tunnels everyday which has resulted in the highway developing cracks, pot holes and blisters


The origin of these tunnel lies inside an open CCL quarry which was abandoned few years ago. The quarry under CCL's Pundi project was no longer viable for the company but for illegal miners the spent coal is sufficient to help them earn a living.


Jairam Singh, a miner, said a few hundred families depend on this abandoned quarry. "Luckily they found very rich seam of coal lying beneath the highway," Singh said.


Blaming the local administration for not checking illegal mining of coal, CCL director technical (Project & ops) TK Nag said the problem had been brought to the notice of state government several times.


"We are concerned about our own mines, not illegal mining," he said. When told that the illegal mines originate from an abandoned CCL project, Nag said CCL general manager posted in Hazaribag had been asked to take stalk of the situation.


"We've proposed to the state government to construct an alternate highway linking two loops of the road. Thereafter, the coal present under the highway could be officially mined out," he said adding that Director General Mine safety (DGMS) norms prevent the CCL to mine near highways. Nag further said the CCL GM had been asked to seek expeditious clearance from the state forest department so that an alternate highway could be constructed. "In larger interest of the public, the forest department should give an early clearance," he said.


Admitting that a CCL proposal in this regard had been received, NH chief engineer (Rannchi roads division) Rajesh Kumar Gupta said the same had been been forwarded to NHAI.


"The said road is supposed to be converted to four lane and we have communicated the matter to the NHAI. They should get in touch with the CCL authorities so that the new four-lane road is not constructed over those tunnels," he said.


Gupta however blamed it over the CCL authorities for having delayed the process of filling up the tunnels beneath NH. "Although the CCL had engaged some Australian agency to carry out scientific filling of the tunnels, the project was never completed because of which the danger of subsidence and fire looms large," he said.


July 2009, TNN

Jharkhand Tourism Development Corporation (JTDC) will launch Luxury bus ride to Rajrappa (Ramgarh)

A darshan at the Rajrappa temple on the banks of the Damodar and Bhairavi rivers in Ramgarh is only a luxury bus ride away.


The Jharkhand Tourism Development Corporation (JTDC) will soon roll out Globus, an 18-seater AC bus from the house of Tata Motors, to visit Rajrappa temple for "priority darshan".


The service will be launched as soon as a decision is taken on the price of tickets. As of now, the department plans to make two trips to Rajrappa, 65km from here, tentatively on Tuesdays and Sundays. Plans are afloat to fix the vehicle with a Global Positioning System (GPS) and set up a control room to track the location of the bus.


State tourism secretary Arun Kumar Singh told The Telegraph that devotees travelling to Rajrappa using the service would get a priority in "darshan" of Goddess Chhinnmastika. "A large number of devotees throng the temple everyday. We will make arrangements so that the devotees can do their darshan at ease," Singh said.


Early this month, the tourism corporation launched a week day Ranchi-Jamshedpur-Ranchi Globus bus service. The bus leaves from the corporations' office near Ranchi Club at 6am and reaches Jamshedpur at 9am. From the steel city the bus leaves at 3pm, reaching the capital at 6pm. More trips will be added on this route soon.


"The same bus will make a trip to Rajrappa on two days a week and will also ply on the Ranch-Jamshedpur route for the remaining five days. We are planning to offer a complete package to passengers, which includes tickets and luxury facilities before starting this service," said Alok Prasad, the officer on special duty (OSD) with the tourism department.


So far, the response has been encouraging. B.B. Verma, zonal sales manager at Public Works Department, used this service from Jamshedpur to Ranchi recently. "It was a very smooth journey. The seats are very comfortable and the AC works well too. I am looking forward to my next trip," he said.


The state tourism secretary is also planning to procure more buses to star tourist activities across districts.


"We are going to outsource these buses to private partners and run them on lease. We are also having talks with private operators to get more buses from them," Singh said. He plans to invite an expression of interest from experienced and financially sound firms for supplying, maintaining and operating the luxury buses.


"Besides," the secretary said, "a control room to monitor these buses is on the cards. The buses will be fitted with a GPS system which will help us check they are running on the right route."


Telegraph, June 23

Patratu Thermal Power Station (PTPS) takeover by NTPC

A high-level team from National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) will visit Ranchi this month to hold talks on the modalities of a possible takeover of the ailing Patratu Thermal Power Station (PTPS).


The state's oldest thermal power generating unit is located in Ramgarh district. NTPC spokesman Sahdeo Sethi said on May 17 and 26, a team had visited Patratu for a feasibility study that covered all aspects from manpower to availability of land, water and coal. "The team will shortly submit its report to thermal power major. Once done, proper strategies will, finally, be drawn up for the takeover," Sethi said.


Ten units make up PTPS, which has an installed capacity of 840MW. Units one to six that had been set up by Czech firm Skoda in collaboration with then USSR are more than 36 years old. The remaining four units (seven to 10) were built by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited 20 years ago.


Against an installed capacity of 840MW, the power generated at Patratu varies between a paltry 40MW and 120 MW on any given day. Records show that the efficiency of the plant declined from 20.7 per cent in 2000-01 to 9.12 per cent in 2006-07. The NTPC has been mulling takeover for three years. However, it was in April last year that a formal proposal was submitted to the state seeking complete takeover of all the 10 units.


The power major has also proposed to use available vacant land to set up additional generating units.


A takeover by NTPC could mean either a joint venture with the state or an outright purchase. The NTPC spokesman pointed out that Kanti in Bihar, which has been taken over was a joint venture project between NTPC and the state government there. On the other hand, in case of Talcher Thermal in Orissa, it was an outright purchase by the NTPC.


In case things work according to plan for Patratu, an NTPC takeover committee will hold extensive talks with the state to thrash out modalities, including ownership issues and power sharing, by the end of this month.


Telegraph / 5 June 2009



The National Thermal power corporation (NTPC), union government enterprise, is all set to take over Patratu Thermal Power Station (PTPS)  from Jharkhand State Electricity Board (JSEB).


Initial formalities in this direction were completed with a high-level technical team of the NTPC visiting the plant on May 17 and 26. The team has submitted its report to the central committee which is now likely to visit Jharkhand and finaliae modalities for the take over. NTPC sources said the initiative was taken to augment plant load factor of PTPS that had been low for the past several years.


Citing examples from power plants like Talchar in Orissa, Badarpur Thermal Power Station of National Capital Region (NCR) and Kanti of Bihar, an NTPC release said they are geared to introduce similar improvement in functioning of the PTPS in Jharkhand as well.


Meanwhile, PTPS workers are up in arms against the proposed take over. Extending support to the PTPS workers and officials, the Jharkhand Power Engineer Service Association (JPESA) is preparing to lodge its protest. Power engineers believe that functioning of the PTPS was poor because of political interference and it was premature to hand it over to NTPC without taking the workers and employees into confidence. Engineers are apprehensive of the status they would enjoy after PTPS is taken over by the NTPC.

JPESA executive member Prashant Chaturvedi said had this takeover taken place after unbundling of the JSEB there would have been hardly any protest.


"Once the PTPS was given the status of company there was no harm it being taken over by NTPC but under the present circumstances when the power station was not allowed to function with autonomy, the transfer is somewhat like pushing the employees to the wall," he said.


TNN / 4 June 2009

You Reported

© 2005-09 Jharkhand Org
Note: You can publish anything at your district website by sending it to