“I have ordered a safety audit of all the mines on a priority basis,” the minister said.
“We have made three lots of mines. We are taking those which have five million cubic metres of composite production annually, first. There are 58 such mines,” he said.
“Then, we take those with one to five million cubic metres of annual composite production and then take those which have less than one million cubic metres…,” he added.
“We look at safety audit from all aspects — fire, gas, inundation, etc,” Goyal said, after reviewing safety measures with the officials of Coal India and its subsidiaries here in the light of the recent Jharkhand accident.
“I was explained various causes for the unfortunate incident and we have drawn up a roadmap of what could be done going forward so that the standards of safety can be taken to the highest level to ensure as far as possible zero accident in coal mining activities in India,” he said.
Goyal said the Centre and Coal India officials have taken several decisions in terms of strengthening safety infrastructure and safety audits.
“We are committed to spending on the most modern equipment which will help us in terms of forewarning to prevent accidents,” he said.
Goyal said all the safety audits will be conducted by the Director General of Mines Safety (DGMS).
“If any third-party expert assistance is required, I am open to it. We are taking up (safety) measures immediately for the larger mines first and then go down to each (mines),” he said.
The minister said in the Jharkhand mine that caved in, 18 bodies were recovered so far and rescue operations were still going on.
“I have ordered a detailed investigation through the DGMS as well as a team of experts will be studying the accidents and causes of it,” he said.
In Jharkhand, mining operations were stopped a few weeks back. The accumulated overburden was being moved to make the land more stable and at that stage there was some fault line in the solid strata, he said trying to explain the cave-in.
Goyal, who is in charge of Power Ministry, said two states were also joining UDAY (Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojna) scheme on Wednesday and a week after one more state would be joining it.