MAC: Mines and Communities

Remember the raging fires, children remind president

Published by MAC on 2003-08-07

Remember the raging fires, children remind president

From Indo-Asian News Service

7 August 2003

Ranchi (IANS) - Around 7,500 postcards from children in Jharkhand are on their way to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, pleading that he help stop raging underground mine fires in their area.

The children hail from Jharia in Dhanbad district.

"We are reminding the president that when he visited Jharia before becoming president, he assured us that a scientific solution could save the people of the area," said Souvik, a Class 8 student.

"The president is arriving in the state in November this year and we are hopeful that he will certainly do something to save the region."

Souvik is one of the 7,500 students who have sent postcards to president Kalam."We have heard that our president loves children a lot. I too have sent a postcard requesting him to save Jharia, and us from being displaced," said Rabi Shamsher, a Class 5 student.

Underground fires in the mines of Jharia have forced the state government to evacuate people. About 100,000 people are likely to be affected by the government order. The mine fires, which began seven decades ago, have consumed many houses and burnt people to death.

Chief Minister Arjun Munda also met the president this week on the issue. The railway ministry a few months ago ordered that passenger train services to the area be stopped. The entire rail track there is believed to be in danger. Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL) authorities say their efforts to extinguish the fire have failed to produce results.

Now people in the area are pinning their hopes on the president who is expected to come visiting in November. Kalam had visited Jharia in January last year before becoming president.

"I hope the president will read my postcard message. We are hopeful that he will visit the area and do something for us, whom he loves so much," said Abhishek Paul, a Class 7 student.

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