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Coal mining plays a key role in developing the economic backbone of many developing countries, such as India, although on a local scale. Coal mining industries enormously influence the surrounding environments and livelihoods. An open cast coal mine severely enhances the dust particles in the local atmosphere over time and in turn, affects the fertility of the surrounding lands.
Additionally, the socio-economic conditions of the local community go through a massive perturbation due to land acquisition, migration of people and insecurity of jobs. In this present work, an effort has been made to understand the effect of open cast coal mining on the diverse livelihoods of the rural community in Barjora colliery area of West Bengal. The livelihood pattern of the local community has significantly changed from pre-mining to post-mining, such as in agriculture sector, the work participation rate has reduced from 62% to 3%, and at present, about 55% people are now engaged in the mining sector. The immediate effect helped to increase the financial capacity of rural people. However, the upward socio-economic condition is not sustainable for the long-term. The discontinuity in coal extraction is also the major cause for the job insecurity and vulnerability in socio-economic life.
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