Mining regulator gets new chief

Praduman Choubey

Rahul Guha, a 1979-batch graduate from the Indian School of Mines (ISM), on Friday took charge as the new director-general of the Directorate General of Mines Safety.

A no-nonsense man, Guha took charge from outgoing director-general Satish Puri who retired on Thursday after more than two years in service as the head of the mining safety watchdog.

Addressing a news meet in the coal capital on Friday after taking charge Guha ' who started his career at Western Coal Fields Limited as a senior executive in 1980 ' said his focus primarily would be to generate awareness about mining safety norms to cut down on the number of accidents. Guha, who holds a postgraduate degree in open cast mining from ISM, joined the Directorate General of Mines Safety in 1988.

He claimed that all steps were being taken at the organisational level, as evident from the decline in the number of mining-related mishaps in the last few years, but more needed to be done to make every official aware of safety rules.

"The scenario of mines safety has improved in India, just like everywhere else in the world, with the advent of new technology and equipment. But we need to find out ways for better utilisation of our resources and technology," Guha said.

Listing out his priorities, the new director general said he would work towards bringing about amendments in the Indian Mines Act with reference to coal, metal and oil mines.

He also promised to make the safety management system in mines more effective by conducting a review to identify and eliminate causes of accidents.

"I will try and focus on ways in which the existing human resources could be put to better use in the Directorate General of Mines Safety as well as other mining companies across the country," Guha said.

He added that he would also look into the process of rehabilitation of people who had been affected by mining activities in the country as well as oversee the resettlement of those who had been affected by an underground fire in Jharia.

"I need to study the rate at which the fire is spreading," Guha said.