Coal and Mining Sector

Land protests over Deocha Pachami Coal Block


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Deocha Pachami Coal Block

Mains level: NA

The West Bengal government’s ambitious Deocha Pachami coal block mining project in Birbhum district has run into hurdles over land acquisition and other issues.

Deocha Pachami Coal Block

  • The State government is planning to start mining at the Deocha Pachami coal block, considered to be the largest coal block in the country with reserves of around 1,198 million tonnes of coal.
  • It is spread over an area of 12.31 sq. km, which is around 3,400 acres.
  • There are around 12 villages in the project area with a population of over 21,000, comprising Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Why are locals upset?

  • The project is facing protests over land acquisition of which a significant part is forest land.
  • Locals, mostly Santhal tribals, have close affinity with the land, with forests and waterways, and rely on it for their needs.
  • The tribals were harassed and had been arrested under false and serious charges for protesting.
  • Also, the project details have not yet been made public; and the environment clearance is awaited.



  • This is the most abundantly found fossil fuel. It is used as a domestic fuel, in industries such as iron and steel, steam engines and to generate electricity. Electricity from coal is called thermal power.
  • The coal which we are using today was formed millions of years ago when giant ferns and swamps got buried under the layers of earth. Coal is therefore referred to as Buried Sunshine.
  • The leading coal producers of the world include China, US, Australia, Indonesia, India.
  • The coal-producing areas of India include Raniganj, Jharia, Dhanbad and Bokaro in Jharkhand.
  • Coal is also classified into four ranks: anthracite, bituminous, sub-bituminous, and lignite. The ranking depends on the types and amounts of carbon the coal contains and on the amount of heat energy the coal can produce.


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