The Coal Ministry on Tuesday, said that it has set an ambitious goal for coal companies to bring more than 2,400 hectare of area in and around coalfields under green cover with the planting of more than 50 lakh saplings for FY23.

“The identified areas include reclaimed mined out areas of coal companies and areas outside of leasehold-amenable for plantation and made available by state Government agencies, it said in a statement.

“As of now, greening drive is in full swing in coal mining areas and about 1,000 hectares of land has already been covered through block plantation, avenue plantation, grassland creation, bamboo plantation and high-tech cultivation by August 15, 2022. With the achievements made so far, coal companies are confident of surpassing this year’s greening targets,” it added.

The greening initiatives support India’s NDC commitment to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of CO 2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.

Sustainable model

Coal industry strives to promote a sustainable model of development in which coal production concurs with steps to protect the environment, conserve natural resources, care for society and measures to protect our forests and wildlife, the ministry said.

Coal companies have not only effectively met the rising energy demand of the country at the current time of global energy crisis, but also shown their sensitivity and carefulness towards the environment by adopting various mitigation measures including extensive plantation in and around coal bearing areas and reclamation of mined out lands, it added.

Land restoration

Afforestation is a proven way of restoration of lands damaged by anthropogenic activities and must for achieving satisfactory rehabilitation of a mined landscape. It helps in minimising the footprints of coal mining, prevents soil erosion, stabilises the climate, preserves wild life and enhances quality of air and watersheds.

On a global scale, it mitigates climate change through carbon sequestration and also results in economic growth of the region.

The goal of the Indian coal industry is to secure availability of coal to meet the demand of various sectors of the economy while minimising the impact of mining on the environment and to improve the quality of life for local residents.

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