The CPI(M) on Friday told the 14th Finance Commission that the underground fire, subsidence and emission of poisonous gas in the Jharia coalfields of Dhanbad be considered as a "national disaster".
"Lives and livelihood of about seven lakh inhabitants in the area are adversely affected due to the underground fire following unscientific mining the graveness demands to be considered as national disaster," the CPI(M) said in its memorandum handed over to Commission Chairman YV Reddy.
Participating in the meeting convened by the Commission to hear contentions of all political parties, the CPI(M) also suggested development of infrastructure, protection and advancement of the tribals, and demanded special status be granted to Jharkhand.
Placing its demand, the Congress, represented by Radhakrishna Kishore, informed the Commission that Jharkhand deserved a "special look" as it produces only 30 lakh MT grains as against an annual requirement of 60 lakh MT grains and 74 per cent rural areas have no roads.
The Congress also drew the attention of the Commission that out of a requirement of 2,000 MW electricity, the state only has 400 MW and urged a hike in the royalty of coal and iron ore from 14 per cent to 25 per cent and 10 per cent to 20 per cent respectively.
JMM general secretary Suprio Bhattacharya sought among others ensuring the state's right over minerals and infrastructure.
Demanding special status for the state, BJP leader Prem Mittal drew the attention of the Commission on acute poverty in the state and urged to ensure livelihood of the people living around the PSUs by giving favourable allocation to the state.