Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
The Indian miner is in some respects more fortunate than the miner in Europe. Most of the coal comes from thick seams of 10 feet and over, seams of less than 5 feet being rarely worked. In consequence, the main underground roads are generally spacious and the working places almost invariably allow the miner to stand upright at his work. As yet the mines have not reached any great depth, those of over 500 feet in depth being exceptional, and the lead to the working face is seldom unduly long. As the mines develop work is carried to greater depths and greater distances, and, as a result, some working places are hot and ill-ventilated. 18, 000 workers are employed in quarries, two-thirds of them in the Bokaro field. In this field 95% of the output is mined by the railways, whose workings include an immense excavation where a seam 100 feet thick is worked from the surface, after removing some 60 feet of overburden. This quarry produces nearly a million tons a year, the largest output of any colliery in India. Inflammable gas is not common, and most of the mines can be safely worked with naked lights, while a number of the larger ones are lit by electricity. In most of the coalfields there is an almost complete lack of system in respect of mining leases. Patches of coal, which, by reason of their small size, cannot be worked separately except by the most primitive equipment, can be found in close proximity to large mines equipped with electric power and using machinery of the most modem kind both above and below ground. We recommend an examination of the Mining Industry Act 1926, enacted in the United Kingdom, for the purpose of considering how far its provisions would be to the advantage of the industry in India in this connection.