Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
A number of colliery proprietors own surface rights in the land above the mine and are able to assign small holdings to a proportion of the miners, and for a number of tenants the rendering of labour in the mine is a condition of holding their land. This practice is fairly general in the Giridih field, which is largely held by the East Indian Railway.
Here there are colliery villages entirely peopled with service tenant who retain their holdings at a low rent on condition of rendering a certain number of days' service in the mine. A few colliery owners in the Jharia field acquired proprietary rights in land lying outside the coal-fields with a view to securing labour for their mines from the tenant Enquiries made at our request by the Government of Bihar and Orissa indicate that this method of securing labour is no longer utilised by the collieries themselves, but at the time of our visit we understood that contracts were still given to persons whose interest in land made easier for them to secure labour from their tenants. We are inform that tenants are increasingly ready to avail themselves of the safeguard afforded by the law, but in a service tenancy the rendering of service is a legal obligation in return for the holding of the land. An undertaking to render service in a mine as the condition of holding land is, in general, an undesirable form of contract. We recognise a difference between lands away from the colliery and actual colliery lands, including those held to protect the owner from claims for damage arising from his underground operations. In regard to the first, we recommend that, for the future, the law should prohibit the creation of tenancies with colliery service as a condition of the holding. We recommend also that existing tenancies should be examined by Government to see whether they can be converted to rent holdings with equity to all concerned. The position in respect of lands held for the purpose of working coal is different. In many cases the colliery owner must retain full control and cannot afford to lease it on terms which would give rise to permanent tenancy rights. The grant to miners of permission to cultivate it is usually in the interest of both parties, and there is no reason why such lands should not be held by colliery employees as an amenity or part remuneration of their service so long as they continue to be employed. The determination of the lands held for the purpose of working coal should be made by Government.