Bhagalpur: With coal mafias calling shots, coal theft has transformed into a thriving business in a 24-km stretch of land ranging from Lalmatia Coal mine in Jharkhand and the NTPC located in Kahalgaon in Bihar. The growing menace of the illegal trade can be gauged from the fact that it has become a source of earning for thousands of villagers residing in the belt.

However, the state and Union industrial security forces have not achieved any success in nabbing the culprits running the illegal business since years. 

Stealing of coal has now emerged as a flourishing business which provides employment to many labourers. Thousands of men, women, children and youths throng the rail tracks and throw coal rocks fron the moving racks which are collected by many others and are loaded in tractors, trucks etc.

They are hired as daily wage labourers and earn a handsome income of Rs 200 to Rs 300 per day for the task whereas the drivers employed in transportation of coal earn about Rs 500 per day.
The usual transportation of coal on cycles, tractors etc can easily hint at the involvement of police in the illegal business. Taking action against such complaints, SSP Sanjay Singh suspended head of Peerpanti police station Jagdish Sharma a few months ago.

The strict action by the police proved beneficial in controlling the practice but a complete ban on coal thefts has not been achieved due to its emergence as a means of livelihood.

There are people like Shamim, Firoz, Chunna who are working like active players but a politician’s involvement has been posing hurdle in any action being initiated by the police in this regard.