On unused land near mineral-free mines across the country, about 30 eco-parks have been constructed, and another 30 will come up in the following three to four years in states that produce coal
According to Pralhad Joshi, minister for coal and mines, state-owned coal corporations are adopting a variety of steps to recover abandoned mines, from planting trees to creating eco-parks.
According to the minister, other ministry activities include the use of cutting-edge technologies like gasification of coal, the installation of renewable energy projects, the preservation of water bodies, etc.
"Our Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) has set a vision to make India net zero by 2070. In line with his vision, our PSUs are making various efforts to make coal mining a sustainable exercise. We are doing our bit for the climate change issue. They are spending thousands of crores to meet this goal," he said ahead of the World Environment Day on June 5.
The coal ministry has administrative supervision over Coal India Ltd (CIL), its eight subsidiary businesses, and NLC India Ltd. Joshi, who is also the minister for legislative affairs, continued, "We have increased the green cover over 16,262 hectares of land by planting approximately 37.03 million saplings from 2014–15 to 2022–23." In the current fiscal year (2023–24), public sector organisations have developed a plan to plant 50 lakh saplings, bringing the total number of trees to over 42 million, in order to build a green cover area of 2,500 hectares (ha).
He added that approximately 30 eco-parks have been built on waste land near mineral-free mines across the nation, and another 30 will be built in the next three to four years in coal-producing states like West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Odisha at a cost of approximately Rs 200 crore.
In regards to coal gasification, Joshi claimed that the government announced last year that it would set aside Rs 6,000 crore for the use of the technology, where emissions are quite low. Making coal available for coal gasification projects and choosing appropriate coal gasification technologies, such as carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), are two key elements of coal gasification plans.