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Greening Initiatives in Coal Sector

In order to promote sustainable mining and minimize the adverse footprints of mining on native environment, coal/lignite CPSUs under Ministry of Coal (MoC) have been taking various green initiatives, namely

  • Biological reclamation of mined out land and overburden dumps,
  • Avenue plantation along coal transportation and other roads
  • Creation of green belt around infrastructures, sidings and other industrial installations to reduce air pollution.
  • Plantation around mine boundary and residential colony for noise attenuation.
  • Plantation on free land parcels within and outside mine leasehold
  • Distribution of saplings to people for participatory plantation programme.

With an aim to provide boost to greening initiatives, Ministry of Coal (MoC) organizes VriksharopanAbhiyan every year involving all mining areas of coal/lignite CPSUs. Launch of such Abhiyan with participation of dignitaries from Ministry of Coal, senior officers of CPSUs and local leaders & celebrities provides impetus to the ongoing reclamation/plantation drive of CPSUs. Free distribution of saplings amongst local inhabitants/agencies during the Abhiyan enhances plantation and also sensitizes the host community on importance of plantation.

As per Ministry of Coal’s mine closure guidelines of 2009, which was subsequently revised in 2013 and 2020, all coal mines of coal/lignite CPSUs have an approved mine closure plan comprising of Progressive and Final Mine Closure Plan with detailed provisions for reclamation of mined out areas along with phasing of such activities. For financial assurance, all mines have to deposit the estimated mine closure cost in an Escrow Account on annual basis towards security to cover the cost of mine closure activities.

Based on provisions made in approved mine closure plans and projected plans for plantation in other areas, if any, coal/lignite mines have drawn a 5-year road map for taking up greening activities. CPSU-wise compiled targets for 5year roadmap for greening activities are given in the following table:

Years CIL (Ha) NLCIL (Ha) Total (Ha)
2021-22 1310 164 1474
2022-23 1310 192 1502
2023-24 1330 194 1524
2024-25 1405 194 1599
2025-26 1445 194 1639
Total 6800 938 7738

Note: Greening activities includes bamboo plantation, cultivation and grassing also

Mine-wise annual targets fixed in the roadmap, as above is monitored by the sustainable development cells of CPSUs at frequent intervals. Sustainable Development Section of MoC monitors the progress of greening activities of coal/lignite CPSUs through review meetings conducted at regular intervals.

In order to assess the efficacy of greening activities, CIL and its subsidiaries also undertake vegetation cover mapping based on satellite data periodically through CMPDI every year for major mines (producing more than 5 million cubic meter coal + OB) and every three years for minor mines (producing less than 5 million cubic meter coal + OB).

This information was given by the Union Minister of Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Shri Pralhad Joshi in a written reply in Rajya Sabha today.

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