New Delhi: A detailed review of environmental and forest clearance undertaken for state-run Coal India Ltd's (CIL) Jayant Opencast Coal Project in Madhya Pradesh's Singrauli district has revealed the presence of more green cover than the pre-mining forest cover, the Ministry of Coal said in an official statement on Monday. "During a detailed review of environmental and forest clearance of Jayant Project by the Ministry of Coal's Secretary in New Delhi, the satellite data of the project presented by NCL revealed more green cover than the pre-mining forest cover, which is an outstanding achievement for any mega Coal project operating in large leasehold area," said the statement.
"Even as the notion is that coal mining degrades the land, new projects of Coal India Limited (CIL), under the Ministry of Coal, is not only reclaiming land to its original shape but also enhancing green cover, along with coal mining activity. Emphasis is to have the simultaneous backfilling of land after opencast Coal Mining operation and dense plantation thereon to maintain environmental equilibrium," said the statement.
Jayant greenfield project
The Jayant Opencast Coal Project in Singrauli District of Madhya Pradesh is a greenfiled project of Northern Coalfields Ltd (NCL), a subsidiary company of CIL. Land restoration and enhancement of green cover has helped in lowering down the effect of pollution substantially and has also helped in increasing carbon offset.
The greenfield project operates in an area of about 3,200 hectares with an annual coal production capacity of 25 million tonnes (MT). Mining operation in the project started way back in 1975-76. Coal production started from the year 1977-78 by deploying larger capacity Heavy Earth Moving Machines (HEMM) such as Dragline, Shovel, Dumpers etc. Coal produced from the project is linked to Singrauli Super Thermal Power Station of NTPC located at Shaktinagar, Uttar Pradesh, which has a generation capacity of 2,000 MW. Coal is being transported to the power plant through the dedicated Merry-Go-Round (MGR) system.
Green cover mission
In line with the Green Cover Mission, massive plantation is being carried out every year in and around the project, which includes reclaimed area and overburden (OB) dump areas, with the help of Madhya Pradesh Rajya Van Vikas Nigam Limited (MPRVVNL). Saplings include species such as Jamun, Jungle Jalebi, Seesam, Sirus, Mahua, Subabul, Bel, Amla, Kachnar, Karanj, Neem, Amaltas, Bamboo, Bougainvillea, Cassia, Gulmohar, Khamer, Peltophorum etc.
The pre-mining forest cover was around 1,180 hectares which has now increased to the level of 1,419 hectares of green cover, as per the Land Reclamation Report based on Satellite Data for the year 2020. This is about 45 percent of the total leasehold area of the project. The target is to have over 2,600 hectares of area under green cover after the closure of the mine, which will be more than double the pre-mining stage.
All new coal projects have a mandatory well-laid mine closure plan which, apart from other activities, becomes a guiding factor for restoration of land to its original condition after completion of mining activity. Action on such restoration begins right from the start of the project wherein backfilling of the void by overburden becomes a major activity after mining and simultaneous plantation over the land becomes a key activity for early biological restoration.
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