Over the years Indian Coal Sector has grown from strength to strength and enhanced domestic coal production from a level of around 90 MT in 1975 to 716 MT in 2020-21 thereby meeting a substantial share of primary energy demand of our country.
Not only the coal sector has been able to ramp up the production over the years, it has remained equally sensitive towards environment and society. It has been takingmany sustainable development initiatives with emphasis on care for environment and thrust on well-being of host community. Aim is to minimize the environmental footprints of mining, provide a better environment along with ease of living to people residing nearby and improve the overall image of Indian coal sector.
One of the key sustainable initiatives of coal companies has been to enhance the green cover in and around mining areas through activities like ecological reclamation of mined out land and overburden dumps, plantation in and around mines, avenue plantation, and restoration of flora and fauna with an aim to leave a lighter mining footprint after the closure of mining.
In the likeness of yester years, this year also the greening initiatives of coal/lignite companies were given boost through launch of Vriksharopan Abhiyan-2021, which was also made one of the thrust areas of ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebration to commemorate 75 years of independence.
Vriksharopan Abhiyan – 2021 was organized in the august presence of Hon’ble Minister of State for Coal, Mines and Rail Shri Raosaheb Patil Danve, Secretary (Coal) and other senior officers of Ministry of Coal. The tone of event was set by screening of a video showing plantation done by the Hon’ble Union Minister of Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Shri Pralhad Joshi and reading of his message underlining importance of plantation drive.
During the event, plantation was carried out at more than 350 sites spread in 12 States and more than 220 sites were connected through video conferencing with online visibility. In total, 6.90 lakh saplings were planted and more than 3.80 lakh saplings were distributed amongst local inhabitants/agencies with an aim to cover more areas and green cover and also to sensitize the host community on importance of plantation.
Vriksharopan Abhiyan 2021 got huge response at all sites with about 30000 participants in total. The annual event was attended by more than 700 prominent public figures including 4 nos. of Hon’ble MPs and 23 nos. of Hon’ble MLAs.
During the programme, 2 eco-parks were inaugurated:
- Mudwani Dam Eco-park of NCL in Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh, and
- Mine -II Eco-Park of NLC India Ltd, Neyveli, Tamil Nadu
Also, foundation stone was laid for 2 parks:
- Jhanjra Eco-Park of ECL in PachimBardhaman, West Bengal
- Chandrashekhar Azad Orient UG No. 4 Eco-Park of MCL in Jharsuguda, Odisha
These eco-parks/tourism sites will provide avenues for recreation, adventure, water sport, fishery, bird watching etc. for the people residing in nearby areas and will be integrated to form part of local tourism circuit.
Continuance of Vriksharopan Abhiyan
Hon’ble Minister of State for Coal, Mines and Rail appreciated the greening initiatives of coal/lignite PSUs and hoped that Vriksharopan Abhiyan will enable these PSUs to achieve their greening target of planting 60 lakh trees this fiscal. He also advised PSUs to ensure that all saplings be protected and nurtured till they attain a stage of self-sustainability. Till 15th September 2021, Coal/Lignite PSUs have covered around 1600 Ha of land under green cover with more than 40 lakh plantation.