However, the non-BCCL employee residents of the belt refused to shift to the new colony offered by the BCCL, citing lesser space than their present homes.
    
The residents complained of itching in their eyes and headache during emission of smoke from the mine fire.

"My family also has received eviction notice from the authorities of Jharia," claimed one resident. Her neighbours at Ghanudih also received notices after the public sector declared it as falling in 'danger zone'.

The BCCL has already offered alternative houses to her and others in the neighbourhood at Jharia Vehar Colony at Benagaria, about 20 km from their colony, she admits.

The resident alleged her house had been damaged in January this year during a controlled blast to check the underground fire from spreading further. "But the houses being offered are not spacious enough to accommodate the entire families," she said.

Altogether 26,000 out of 98,000 families, nestled in the "danger zone" of Jharia, are employed with the BCCL and the public sector claimed that almost all of its employees had been shifted to different locations.

The rest of the 72,000 non-BCCL employee families are yet to move out.

"It is the responsibility of the Jharia Rehabilitation Development Authority (JRDA) for evacuation and rehabilitation of the families living in an area affected by underground fires," said a senior official.

Jharkhand Chief Secretary Rajiv Gauba had on April 3 assessed the situation at the fire zone. The high-level team, he headed then, said on record that over 70,000 families have to be shifted.

Additional secretary of Union Coal Ministry A K Dubey also inspected the Jharia fire zone on April 7 and stressed for speedy rehabilitation work.

Meanwhile, a resident of another locality, Rajapur, alleged that she was ready to shift to a safer place but claimed the new accommodation has not yet been allotted.     

The BCCL official said the company has only to provide funds and the JRDA has to work for rehabilitation of the affected persons even as the JRDA officials demand land from BCCL for settling them.

The chief secretary had directed both BCCL and JRDA to work jointly for land requirement. JRDA rehabilitation officer Gopalji said around 2000 quarters are being constructed at Belgaria-phase-2 and accommodation would be completed soon.

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