Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
Having regard to the numbers and distribution of mines in India. the staff of inspectors employed is small. It consists of one chief inspector. three inspectors, five junior inspectors and one electrical inspector. For the administration of the Mines Act, unlike that of the Factories Act, the central Government is responsible and appoints the inspecting staff. The Chief Inspector, whose jurisdiction extends throughout India and Burma, has his headquarters at Dhanbad, close to the main coalfields. and his close co-operation with the provincial Governments, together with the posting of certain inspectors at convenient centres in other provinces, has resulted in the satisfactory working of the system everywhere except in Burma. in that province it has not been possible to station an inspector permanently, and, even if there were no question of the separation of the province, it would, in our view, be desirable for the Burma Government to take over the administration. Inspections increased from 564 in 1919 to 2, 388 in 1929, the number of mines being practically the same. Until 1923, the Department was almost wholly concerned with technical and safety questions, but the Act of that year increased its work in every direction. Since then there has been considerable strengthening of the staff and additional relief afforded by the reduction in the number of coal mines since 1923. The exclusion of Burma should also be of material assistance. But the proper enforcement of the regulations dealing with the exclusion of women and of the new provisions regarding hours will necessitate a larger staff and our recommendations as to wages may also involve some further expansion. We think that the matter should receive early and sympathetic consideration. The mining community owes much to the high quality of the inspectors, and we would be reluctant to see any reduction in the qualifications required. But some of the work, such as inspection of quarries and more frequent checking of registers, might safely be given to a class of assistant inspector and we recommend that this possibility he examined: we also recommend that provincial and district public health officers be given the power am duty of inspection in regard to health matters. We desire to call attention to one further point in connection with administration. When substantial changes are made in the law, the industry is entitled to look to the Mines Department for assistance and advice as to measure which it is necessary to institute to conform to the new statutory pro-visions. We recommend that, in such cases, the Chief Inspector should take steps to confer with representatives of the employers an workpeople.