Coal/lignite PSUs have not only enhanced their production level over the years to meet the rising energy demand of the country but also shown their sensitivity and care towards native environment by adopting various mitigation measures including reclamation of mined out areas and extensive plantation in and around coal bearing areas.
Returning the land disturbed by mining to stable and productive post-mining land uses is fundamental to responsible environmental stewardship. This means that the activities like ecological reclamation of mined out land and overburden dumps, plantation in and around mines, avenue plantation, and restoration of flora and fauna must go side by side along with mining with an aim to leave a lighter mining footprint after the closure of mining.
Coal/Lignite PSUs have been making constant and sincere efforts to minimize the footprints of coal mining through sustained reclamation and afforestation of areas in and around its operating mines.The reclamation activities are being carried out in various mines as per well-designed and approved mine closure plans, which carrydetailed provisions with regard toProgressive as well asFinal Mine Closure activities.
Mined out areas, OB dumps and other disturbed areas are concurrently reclaimed as soon as they get delinked from active mining zone. Top soil is segregated and stored in clearly demarcated area for use within the mine as soon the backfilling and concurrent reclamation starts. Three tier biological reclamation in both external and internal dumps is undertaken through expert agencies i.e. State Forest Development Corporations. Species for biological reclamation are selected in consultation with expert agencies like SFDC, ICFRE, NEERI etc.
The use of innovative techniques such as seed ball plantation, seed casting through drones, and Miyawaki plantation in various mines are in place. These afforestation activities and green belt development arrest the suspended dust particles emitted during mining operations and help to control air pollution. These efforts are being rigorously monitored using remote sensing technology
In addition to bio-reclamation of mined out areas, green belt is also created around the source of air pollution like mine, infrastructure and roads to reduce air pollution. Green belt is also provided around the mine and residential colony for noise attenuation.
Satellite Surveillance for land reclamation
Reclamation of mined out areas is important for sustainable development. Emphasis is being laid on proper reclamation which includes both technical and biological reclamation as well as mine closure. Satellite surveillance for land reclamation is being given the requisite thrust in order to assess the progressive status of reclamation and to take up remedial measures, if any, required for environmental protection.
Satellite data based Image Analysis of 125 mines/clusters of CIL is going on in the FY2022-23. The satellite surveillance of progressive reclamation activities in all 20 opencast mines of SCCL andall 5 opencast mines of NLCIL has been carried out.
Creation of Green Cover
Coal/lignite PSUs have envisaged to bring about 30,000 Ha of addition area (in and around coalfields) under plantation by 2030 from 2019, thus enhancing the carbon sink significantly. Achievements of Coal/Lignite PSUs on the front of Bio-reclamation of mined-out areas and plantation in free areas in and around coal mines:
Coal/Lignite PSUs have planted around 50 lakh saplings on 2370 Ha land in FY 2022-23.
Cumulative achievement of 8160 Ha and plantation of 182 lakh saplings as on 31.03.2023 against the target of 7600 Ha & 176 lakh saplings from FY2019-20 to FY2022-23.
Coal/Lignite PSUs has brought about 16,262 ha of land under green cover in last 9 years (during FY 2014-15 to FY 2022-23) through plantation of more than 370 lakh saplings and set target of about 2400 ha for FY 2023-24.