Believe it or not,organic method extinguishes coal mine fire in Bhurkunda

By Manoj Prasad - Thu Sep 08, 1:48 pm

*Representational Picture Courtesy-coyot.es

*Representational Picture Courtesy-coyot.es

Investigations revealed that a natural method used by a team of Delhi University Professor CR Babu has extinguished or managed to control fire inside coal mines in Bhurkunda in Jharkhand.

As a result,these coal mines have turned green with grass and plants of Pipal,Shisham and Bair growing there..

Earlier,around the same coal mine surface,the mother earth had cracked at several places due to fire inside it.This had threatened displacement of over 40,000 people from Sangam coalery in Bhurkunda managed and run by the PSU-Central Coalfields Ltd(CCL).

Now,however,there was no sign of fire there.Instead,most of the mining areas in Sangam cloalery have turned green in this season of monsoon.

The change from mine fire to greenery of this coal mine,was understood to be a mind boggling positive outcome of an organic method used by Dr CR Babu,reports Dainik Bhaskar,a Hindi Daily. .

Consider facts first.

1.In 2010,fire broke out in about 50 hectares of land in Sangam coalery of the CCL in Bhurkunda.As the fire continued for two years,CCL management was compelled to shift residential colony of its personnel.

2.Responding to invitation by Union Coal Ministry through CCL in 2012,Dr CR Basu team intervened.

To begin with,the team mixed up soil with dung and mixed it with thermofile bacteria.( A thermophile is an organism—a type of extremophile-that thrives at relatively high temperatures, between 41 and 122 °C (106 and 252 °F).Many thermophiles are archaea.”Thermophile bacteria are recorded as the earliest bacteria on Mother Earth”,said a Biologist.

This composite materials comprising soil with dung carrying thermofile bacterias were dumped inside cracks of coal mines under fire.As soon as it came in contact with fire,thermofile bacteria spread and put up a coat around the coal in fire.

“This ended connectivity between fire and oxygen and in consequence,flames stopped burning”,said a CCL officer.

The entire process to contain mine fire took almost three years and the process ended in three phases,it is learnt.

When the fire stopped inside the coal mines,grass was planted on surface outside.This made the grass block entry of oxygen inside the mines.

Soon,saplings were planted.Result?Temperature inside the mines decreased and the sign of fire getting extinguished inside the mines became visible.

During the past two years,sprinklers were used to water over 45 types of plants and grass.Even mangroves,which are complex and dynamic ecosystems varying in salinity, water level and nutrient availability and contain diverse and distinct microbial communities,were put up inside soil.

This is learnt to have generated pro life environment attracting snake and ants there.Professor Vivek Choudhary said that without using any chemical,the coal mine fire was extinguished using a natural method.

Now,Coal India Ltd is planning to use the same method to extinguish coal mine fires in its umpteen coal mines in Jharia Dhanbad and its adjoining areas in Jharkhand.

In fact,as many as 70 areas in Jharia have been confronting coal mine fires since 1916.To extinguish the mine fire Rs 20.85 crore project was approved in 1978.The sum of the project was increased to Rs 90.73 crore in 1985.As per the plan,remote sensing was used to identify the sites of fire.

Also,Nitrogen fogging was used to put off fire.This did not help.Bharat Coking Coal Ltd CMD N.Kumar said that funds were spent to put off fire in coking coal mines in Jharia.”Now the plan is to take out the burning coking coal from the burning mines”,said Kumar.

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