(CNN)Holding onto the rails of a cage, we descend lower and lower into the coal mine. It is pitch dark, hot and humid. Every now and then a spray of water drizzles on us.

The two-minute ride down seems much longer than that.

Once we reach the bottom of the shaft, we begin a 3.5 kilometer walk underground to the site where miners are excavating coal.

For almost an hour, we trudge through the slush, the light from our safety helmets the only illumination underground. Our protective clothes and faces quickly develop a black layer of coal dust.

Coal is a polluting fossil fuel, which currently powers more than 60% of India. The government produced 462 million tonnes of it last year and is targeting a billion tonnes by 2019.

Typically, the coal that burns in power plants across India is of poor quality, therefore more harmful. India is already the world’s third highest emitter of greenhouse gases.

So why is India so hungry for coal? Read more

Courtesy: cnn

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