New Delhi: Coal and lignite PSUs have plans to develop 19 new eco-parks in coal mining areas and the estimated funds for these initiatives amount to a substantial Rs 128 crore, said the Ministry of Coal on Friday. “Fifteen eco-parks/mine tourism sites have been successfully established by the coal/lignite PSUs, with seven integrated into the local tourism circuit. The Eco-parks, which incorporate tree plantations and grasslands, serve as vital components of green landscapes and function as carbon sinks,” said the Coal Ministry while detailing the activities undertaken by coal and lignite PSUs towards environmental conservation.
“These accomplishments underscore the dedication and relentless efforts of Coal/Lignite PSUs in contributing to India's environmental sustainability goals,” said the Ministry of Coal.
The Coal Ministry’s commitment towards environmental conservation continued to soar in the financial year 2023-24, with over 51 lakh saplings planted, bringing more than 2,734 hectares of land under green cover, surpassing the current fiscal target of 2,400 hectares. Additionally, 372 hectares have been covered by grassing which is helping in stabilising soil, improving the moisture retention and preventing erosion in reclaimed land. During the fiscal 2022-23, coal/lignite PSUs under the Ministry of Coal, planted approximately 50 lakh saplings, covering 2,370 hectares of land.
Over the last five years, coal and lignite PSUs, have added 10,894 hectares of land to the green cover by planting more than 233 lakh saplings under the guidance and supervision of the Coal Ministry, said the statement. Massive plantation drives are undertaken annually in the coal sector, encompassing various areas, including avenue plantation, plantation on overburden dumps, residential colonies, riverbanks and roadsides. Innovative methods like miyawaki plantation, seed ball plantation, the development of grassland and drone technology for planting in challenging terrains have also been adopted.
“India’s coal sector has taken significant strides in transforming its ecological footprint, contributing to the nation’s sustainability goals and environmental conservation. With a relentless focus on greening and reclamation of mined-out areas, coal/lignite PSUs have played a pivotal role in enhancing India’s forest and tree cover. These efforts are not only in alignment with the National Mission for a Green India (GIM), a crucial component of the National Action Plan on Climate Change, but also contributing towards Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) commitment to creating an additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through increased forest and tree cover by 2030,” said the ministry.