MINUTES OF 29th EXPERT APPRAISAL COMMITTEE (EAC) (THERMAL & COAL MINING) MEETING HELD ON 18th -19th July 2011 HELD IN SCOPE COMPLEX, NEW DELHI.
The 29th meeting of the reconstituted EAC (T &C) was held on 18th -19th July 2011 to consider the projects of coal mining sector. The list of participants of EAC and the proponents are given at Annexure-1 and 2 respectively.
The minutes of the 27th meeting of EAC (T&C) held on 20th -21st June 2011 was confirmed subject to the following corrections:
Item 9: 12th line the words, “which has been reached, hence it is a violation case” is deleted.
The agenda items were taken up as given below:
1. Bithnok Lignite Mine Project (2.1 MTPA) of M/s Neyveli Lignite Corporation
Ltd. to be located at Bithnok, District
proposed opencast lignite mine project of M/s NLC of 2.1 MTPA production
capacity is to be located in district Bithnok, district
The proponent made a presentation. It was stated
that the area of 124.21 ha planned for future mining and the 268.50 ha
intervening area should be kept undisturbed during the life of the project. It
was further informed that it is proposed to undertake ground water recharge
programme by harvesting the rain water in and around mining lease area through
construction of storage tanks and if excess rainfall occurs, recharging of
groundwater would be done using wells. The Report of “Hydro geological
investigation in and around proposed Bithnok Lignite Mine area, Tehsil Kolayat,
Dist.Bikaner, Rajasthan had been prepared and submitted to MOEF. It was informed that the study area gets
280mm of annual rainfall. The drainage of the project area consists of streams
and surface channels and depressions which are seasonal and dry off after the
rainy season. It was informed that water table is at 78m bgl. The total TDS is
8000 mg/l and after desalination, it would be 300 mg/l/. Mining would reach 75m
during the 3rd year and intersect the water table. Mining would
reach the unconfined aquifer at 90m during the 7th year of
operation. The proponent furnished the comments of State Ground Water
The Committee desired that the area of 124.21 ha planned for future mining and the 268.50 ha intervening area should be kept undisturbed during the life of the project. The comments of Dr Arjit Dey former Member, EAC (T&C) and (OSD to Minister of State for Water Resource) dated 11.04.2011 on the Report on Hydrogeology on the impact of mining on ground water were discussed. The mine lease area reportedly falls under “safe category” from ground water development consideration having 61% level of ground water development. The ground water in the proposed area occurs in unconfined to semi confined conditions with the existence of multi aquifer system. The ground water quality with high salinity, fluoride etc. have been reported in the area. It was noted that the study area is characterised by flat topography and few ephemeral streams and natural inland depression near Kolayat, Gurha and other nearby area which also serve as traditional source of water for local communities. The following main issues/recommendations made in the comments received from Dr. A. Dey on the Report of Hydrogeology prepared by the proponent:
(i) In view of the importance of these natural drainages, the proponent should undertake detailed studies for characterization of these drainages and evolve suitable measures for protection of these natural resources.
(ii) As the mining activity may intersect ground water level, the proponent should adhere to the regulatory framework /guidelines as notified by Central Ground Water Authority or other regulatory agencies for this purpose.
(iii) As it is proposed to retain a water body during post mining period, and mining of lignite is known to cause problems in water quality due to acidity, an appropriate mine void strategy may be evolved in order to ensure protection of surface and ground water from pollution on long term perspective.
(iv) The proponent proposed to undertake progressive advance dewatering/pumping of ground water (deeper aquifers) from 3rd year onwards in order to confine the ground water level below working seam depth by using 6-7 depressurising wells to pump out about 22,000 m3/day ground water, the pumping of this huge quantity of water would inter-alia create a large and literally extensive ‘Cone of Depression’ which may affect the flow of ground water in the area. As the buffer zone of Bithnok mining area encompasses fresh ground water potential zone such as T1 & T2 zones (as identified by State GW Dept.), the proposed mining may affect the fresh water sustainability in the area. In order to minimise the adverse impact of working below the unconfined aquifer, the proponent may optimise the design of strata depressurisation programme through a detailed study.
(v) PP has proposed to undertake ground water recharge programme to harvest 72000 m3/year (197m3/day) in and around mining area through construction of recharge wells and storage tanks. The proposed recharge programme appears to be suboptimal and requires to be scaled up through setting up of ground water recharge wells at suitable locations aimed at replenishment of the depleted aquifers during course of mining.
(vi) As reported, the ground water of the area has high concentrations of salinity, chloride and fluoride. The proponent may plan and implement a long term ground water monitoring programme in the study area by establishing a network of existing wells /peizometers at appropriate locations. Such monitoring may commence before the start of mining and may consider both the qualitative and quantitative aspect of ground water regime. The proponent should submit a comprehensive report on “Ground Water Monitoring Plan”. The plan should incorporate details of number of peizometers/wells (proposed depth location), site characteristics, monitoring parameter (quality and quantity), time frame of implementation and budgetary provision etc. The monitoring of ground water quality should be continued in and around the area on long term basis and at least 3 years after completion of mining. If the ground water is found to be acidic/contaminated in and around area (within 5 km), remedial measures are to be implemented and cost borne thereof by proponent.
(vii) Mine discharge water should be gainfully utilised and part of available water may be used for ground water recharge programme.
(viii) The proponent has proposed 30-45 ‘evaporation ponds’ (dimension 100m x 100m x 0.3m) within the ML area to accommodate 3000m3/day of discharge rejects from the proposed RO plant at different water cycle. The proponent may however ensured land optimisation, proper design, construction, maintenance and operation of the evaporation ponds. The evaporation ponds design optimisation should be developed through experimental studies. The ponds also require careful environmental monitoring of potential pond leakage, since a variety of toxic material in RO rejects may pose potential risk for contamination of ground water.
The Committee decided that these aforesaid issues are very important for the conservation of the groundwater and for protection of the water quality in the study area and require to be addressed by the proponent and the recommendations of above report thereon implemented. The Committee particularly noted that the pumping out of a huge quantity of about 22,000 m3/day ground water, would inter-alia create a large and literally extensive ‘Cone of Depression’ which may affect the flow of ground water in the area. As the buffer zone of Bithnok mining area encompasses fresh ground water potential zone such as T1 & T2 zones (as identified by State GW Dept.), the proposed mining may affect the fresh water sustainability in the area. In order to minimise the adverse impact of working below the unconfined aquifer, the proponent may optimise the design of strata depressurisation programme through a detailed study. The Committee further desired that since the mine discharge water could be high in slats, TDS, pH, etc, and should not be used for dust suppression and for greenbelt development without treatment. The Committee desired that a long-term MOU be entered with a suitable buyer for the sodium salts produced from the brine sludge both from the evaporation ponds and from the RO unit. The Committee sought a conceptual Plan on measures on the following:
(i) Surface drainage plan and a plan for conservation of surface water bodies (even seasonal) such as streams and natural depressions.
(ii) Conceptual plan for recharge of groundwater.
(iii) Conceptual design of evaporation ponds and details of lining for prevention of leakage of salts from the evaporation ponds and mine voids.
In regard to CSR, the Committee noted that a budget of Rs 117 lakhs have been provided for capital cost and desired that a provision of Rs 5/T of lignite be earmarked for revenue expenditure. The Committee desired the original estimate for capital costs for CSR of Rs140 lakhs or 0.4% of the net profits whichever is higher should be retained. The Committee desired that annual revenue expenditure is Rs 10 lakhs/year be provided for the vulnerable section of society. The Committee sought detailed “Action Plan” (village-wise and activity-wise) for CSR with details of budgetary provision for the activities for the life of the mine. Committee also desire that the PP should also supply desalination water to the villages under CSR.
The Committee after discussions decided to further consider the project upon receipt of these details
2. Report dated 17.06.2011 of the Ministry of Environment & Forests on the issue of EC and FC for the coal blocks located in the Pench-Satpura Tiger Corridor
Director, MOEF informed that during 2009, the MOEF had received a number of proposals for TOR and EC from the Pench-Kanhan Coalfields located in district Chindwara, M.P. While the proposals were being considered, a letter No. Ma./che/2010/503 dated 27.01.2010 was received from the CWLW, Govt. of M.P., that the area forms a part of the habitat connectivity between the Pench Tiger Reserve and the Satpura Tiger Reserve which are located at a distance of about 22.km and 67 km respectively from the coalfield. In view of this, the MOEF decided to defer consideration of all the proposals until a formal approval was received from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
The matter was examined in depth by the Forest Conservation (FC) Division of the MOEF in a series of Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) meetings held in 2010-11 on the study undertaken by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII). NTCA also constituted a Committee to examine the issue. The Final Report of the Forest Wing of the MOEF dated 17.06.2011 (Annexure-3) was received in the Impact Assessment (IA) Division of the Ministry. The Report has identified that a portion of the area running from South Western to southern side of Chindwara town falling between the two Tiger Reserves would form a viable ecological corridor linking the two Tiger Reserves. The Report has further stated that no contiguous corridor is however, found to exist near Parasia town on northern side of Chindwara town where majority of coal blocks of Pench-Kanhan coal fields are located. The Report further states that the density of vegetation available in that area is also fairly low. The severely fragmented forest of that area also does not lead to any source population of tiger and other important wildlife species. Thus, the Report states that the major part of Pench–Kanhan coalfield is not located in viable corridor. A few coal blocks on the western side of the Coalfield are however located within the viable corridor. The Report has on the basis of detailed deliberations in the FAC meetings, in consultation with NTCA and CMPDI of M/s Western Coalfields Ltd. and the FSI, identified 12 coal blocks of the 68 coal blocks of the Pench-Kanhan Coalfields given below as falling in the viable corridor. These are given below:
i. 55 (Rakhikol)
ii. 58 (Nandan-II)
iii. 59 (Bansi)
iv. 60 (Dahu North)
v. 61 (Rakhinala)
vi. 62 (Dahu- Tandsi-III)
vii. 63 (Koyalwari)
viii. 64 (Tandsi South)
ix. 65 (Tandsi North)
x. 66 (Tambia)
xi. 67 (Tandsi-III)
xii. 68 (Dhanwa)
The location of the 12 coal blocks on the map of Pench-Kanhan Coalfields is given at Annexure-5. The Report has recommended that coal blocks outside the viable corridor could be permitted mining to achieve the twin objectives of forest and wildlife conservation and economic development. The Report has further recommended that the existing coalmine projects located within the corridor shall be phased out in a time bound manner. The Report has brought out certain conditions to regard to mining of coal blocks located outside the viable corridor which are approved by the MOEF. The proposals seeking approval under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 or the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 for undertaking mining in any of the 58 coal blocks of the Pench-Kanhan coal field located outside the migratory corridor may be processed by the Ministry on their merits and, if approved, their approval may be subject to the additional condition that the user agency shall contribute on proportionate basis the amount required for implementation of the plans to be prepared by the NTCA for rejuvenation and restocking of the viable corridor and the mitigative measures to eliminate/minimize the adverse impacts of the transportation of the coal to be extracted from the Pench-Kanhan coalfield on the viable corridor. The Report states that in case of opencast mining, the entire lease area would be taken into account for calculating the costs to be recovered from the proponent and in case of underground mining, half of the area of the mining lease may be taken into account to calculate the amount to be recovered from the project proponent.
Director MOEF informed that on the basis of the Report, the MOEF has decided to consider the proposals received in the MOEF, which are located outside the viable corridor for appraisal for environmental clearance on their merits.
Dr.V.B. Mathur, Dean, Wildlife Institute of
desired that the surface land required for surface structures such as entries
and exits, transportation, coal evacuation should be in non-forestland. The Committee
noted that as per the ministry report dated 17.06.2011, no approval under the
3. Dhankasa UG (1.20 MTPA over ML area 582.65 ha) of M/s WCL located in Pench-Kanhan Coalfields, dist. Chindwara, M.P. (EC based on TOR granted on 11.12.2008)
Representatives of M/s Western Coalfields Ltd (WCL), which is the major coal company with a large number of coal blocks in the Pench-Kanhan coalfields stated that WCL proposed to undertake UG mining in 4 new underground coalmines in the Pench-Kahnhan coalfields namely, Dhankasa (no.2 in Annexure-5), Jamuniya (3 in Annexure-5) which are located towards the eastern side of the coalfields and Sharda (42 in Annexure-5) and Bhakra (52 in Annexure-5) towards western side. It was informed that Dhankasa and Jamuniya (3) can not have one entry point as desired by Committee due to geological problem. It was stated that a distance of 1.50 km exists between Bhakra (no.52 in Annexure-5) and Jamuniya (3 in Annexure-5). The railway siding is about 10 km from mine site.
The proponent made a presentation on the Dhankasa UGP. It was stated that as per the Report of the MOEF, Dhankasa UGP is at a distance of about 70km from the corridor and does not fall in the viable tiger corridor. The proposal is for opening a new underground Dhankasa underground coalmine project of 1.20 MTPA rated capacity in a ML area of 582.65 ha. It was clarified that no developmental activities have begun for the project and hence the mine is not in production. The project was further considered on the issues raised in the meeting of EAC held on 28 & 29th October 2009, wherein the Committee had sought a response on the following:
(i) There should be no coal extraction beneath the river.
(ii) A 3-tier avenue plantation should be developed on the mineral transportation road.
(iii) Detailed studies on water quality supported with monitoring data to identify the problems of Acid Mine Drainage (AMD).
The proponent informed that of the total geological coal reserve of 48.141 MT, extractable reserves in the mines are about 17.714 MT only. The rest of the coal would not be extracted and would be left for supporting the area below the river, barrier against faults, panel etc. It was informed that a plan to develop 3-tier avenue plantation on the mineral transportation road has been made. It was clarified that there are 3 operating UG mines namely Naheriya UG, Thesgora UG and Mathani UG in operation and none of these mines have encountered problem of Acid water. Details of water quality analysis report were presented with pH of 7.6, 7.9, 8.1 in the samples. The proponent agreed to earmark @ Rs. 5/tonne of coal for CSR activities. It was informed that forestry clearance has been applied for. It was informed that coal transportation to EDC Railway Siding at a distance of about 8-10 km and would be by rail. It is proposed to have a centralised colony for Dhankasa, Jamuniya and Neheriya UG mines of WCL. Surface structures would be on non-forestland. It was informed that forestry clearance has been applied for.
The Committee desired that that the proponent shall contribute on proportionate basis the amount required for the eco-rejuvenation of the viable corridor as per quantum worked out by NTCA. The Committee sought a copy of the Stage-I FC (for surface rights and mining rights) for further consideration of the proposal.
4. Sharda Underground Coalmine Project (0.315 MTPA in an ML area of 307.50 ha) of M/s Western Coalfields Ltd., located in Pench-Kanhan Coalfields, dist. Chindwara, M.P. (EC based on TOR 11.07.2008)
The proponent made a presentation. The proposal is for opening a new underground Sharda (no.42 in Annexure-5) coalmine project of 0.315 MTPA rated capacity in a ML area of 307.50 ha of which 297 ha is under mining rights and 10.50 ha is surface rights of which 9.50 ha is forestland. It was clarified that no developmental activities have begun for the project and hence the mine is not in production. The proposal was earlier considered in EAC meeting held on 22nd March 2010. It was informed that the proposed project is 15 km from Satpura Tiger Reserve and 61.25 Km from Pench Tiger reserve. The Committee had recommended the project for EC subject to clarification that the proposed project does not fall in the Pench-Satpura Tiger Corridor. It was stated that Stage –I Forestry Clearance for 9.50 ha of forestland of surface rights has been obtained and a copy of the FC letter dated 23.06.2010 was furnished.
The Committee after discussions recommended the project for EC.
5. Jamuniya UG (0.72 MTPA (normative) with 0.828 MTPA (peak capacity) in an ML area of 407 ha) of M/s WCL, located in Pench-Kanhan Coalfields, dist. Chindwara, M.P. (EC based on TOR 15.04.2009)
The proposal is for opening a new underground coalmine project of 0.72 MTPA (normative) with 0.828 MTPA (peak) rated capacity in a ML area of 407 ha. The proposal was last considered in the EAC (T&C) meeting held on 22.03.2010, wherein the EAC had sought clarification on location vis-à-vis Pench-Satpura Tiger Reserves.
The proponent made a presentation. The proponent clarified that no developmental activities have begun for the project and hence the mine is not in production. It was informed that the proposed mine (No.3 in Annexure-5) is 49 km from Pench Tiger Reserve and 66 km from Satpura Tiger Reserve and about 30km from the viable corridor. The details of flora and fauna were furnished. It was informed that River Gunor forms the major drainage in this area and flows along the south and eastern boundary of the block. A nala flowing in the central part of the block is the main tributary to River Gunor. It was informed that it is proposed to leave a 15 m wide barrier of solid coal along the bank of River Gunor wherever it forms the boundary of the mine. It was stated that there would be no coal extraction below the river. Of the geological reserve of 57.28MT, only 22.757 MT is proposed to be extracted and the rest would be left to support the river, panel barrier and barrier against fault. The proponent agreed to develop 2km stretch of the road from the mine with a 3-tier avenue plantation. It was agreed that a minimum capacity of 20-T covered trucks would be used for the coal transportation upto railway siding. In regard to high levels of fluoride, it was clarified that the water quality of the ground water and mine water reported for the neighbouring mines showed that the levels of fluoride were found to be within limits. The proponent agreed to treat the water for F before use, in case, monitoring indicated it to be beyond limits. FC for mining rights of mining 74.70 ha is pending with State Government. No forestland is involved for surface rights.
The Committee after discussions sought a copy of the FC for further consideration of the matter.
6. Bhakra Underground Coalmine Project (0.27 MTPA in an ML area of 227.141 ha) of M/s Western Coalfields Ltd., located in Pench−Kanhan Coalfields, dist. Chindwara, M.P. (EC based on TOR 20.03.2009)
The proponent made a presentation. The proposal is for opening a new Bhakra (no. 52 in Annexure-5) underground coalmine project of 0.27 MTPA rated capacity in a ML area of 227.141 ha. It was informed that the proposed project is 18.76 km from Satpura Tiger Reserve and 75 Km from Pench Tiger Reserve and close to the viable tiger corridor. It was clarified that no developmental activities have begun for the project and hence the mine is not in production. The proposal was earlier considered in EAC meeting held on 22nd March 2010 and the proponent made a presentation on the details sought therein. It was clarified that a detailed Hydrogeological study was carried out as part of the EIA-EMP study. It was informed that the underground mining would be carried out in two stages – Stage-1 would involve development and stage-2 –depillaring. During stage-1, a very thin aquifer over laying the working coal seam would be contributing groundwater to the mine by gravity discharge through natural disturbance like faults and hence, the likely impact on the dug wells and tube well tapping aquifer in mining area would be negligible. The pumped out water would be discharged onto the surface to address the water needs. During depillaring operation, cracks and fractures in the roof would be formed upto the surface due to the compression and other forces. The fractures and cracks would act as the conduit for ground water flow under gravity to the UG panel. The proponent informed that Motur Clay exists between the fractured rocks and is an effective barrier from mine inundation and seepage/inflow is no anticipated during depillaring operation. Mining involves caving as no sand is available near the coalfields. The proponent further informed that Nandan UG mine located on the west of the proposed mine is in operation and no impact on the ground water has been observed.
The Committee desired that the proponent should contribute on proportionate basis, the amount required for ecological–restoration Plan as estimated by NTCA. The Committee also sought a copy of the Stage-1 FC for the 49.3 ha of forestland. The Committee desired that minimum 20-T mechanised trucks should be used for the coal transportation. The Committee decided to further consider the project upon receipt of the aforesaid details.
7. Mandla North Underground Coal Mine (1.5 MTPA in an ML area of 1041 ha) of M/s. Jaiprakash Associated Ltd, located in Pench-Kanhan Coalfields, Dist. Chindwara, Madhya Pradesh (EC based on TOR granted on 18.03.2008)
The project was earlier considered in EAC (T&C) meeting held on 24.2.2009, wherein the following details/clarifications were sought:
(i) Impact of groundwater on the aquifer system should be studied as the project commences
(ii) Clarification from CWLW that the area is not part of a migratory corridor.
(iii) The data obtained from CALINE Model may be compared with FDM Model and details furnished to the Ministry.
(iv) Detailed activities under CSR should be drawn up for life of the project and the amount be also increased.
Director, MOEF informed that while considering the project for EC, comments of CWLW on the WL Conservation Plan was sought and a response was received from the CWLW, Govt. of M.P. vide letter No. Ma./che/2010/503 dated 27.01.2010 stating that the area forms a part of the habitat connectivity between the Pench Tiger Reserve and the Satpura Tiger Reserve and therefore, the MOEF decided to keep the proposal and all such proposals located in the Pench-Kanhan Coalfields in abeyance until a Report on the matter was received from the National Tiger Conservation Authority. The proposal is now being further considered on the basis of the Report of MOEF dated 17.06.2011 (Annexure-3).
The proponent made a presentation. It was informed that a study on the impact of underground mining on the aquifers system shall be undertaken as project commence and peizometers shall be established in consultation with SGWB. It was informed that CCF Chindwara Circle vide letter no.2009/562 dated 17.04.09 has stated that proposed Mandla North Underground Coal Mine project area does not fall within National Park/Wildlife Sanctuary/Tiger Reserve/Elephant corridor. A certified Map showing position of Mandla north coal block in respect of PenchSatpura Tiger Reserve had been furnished. It was informed that the block (No.15 in Annexure-5) is 35 KM away from Satpura Tiger reserve and 48 km away from Pench Tiger Reserve and also does not fall in the “Stepping Stone corridor” as indicated by Wild Life Institute of India, Dehradun as it is about 20 km away from the coal block.
The proponent presented details of clarification sought in the EAC
meeting held in February 2009. Detailed comparison of
data obtained from CALINE Model and FDM were presented. It was informed that Rs
4 crores would be provided for CSR activity for the first 5 years. It was
clarified that the residential colony would be 0.5 km away from proposed mine
and it is planned to establish a common colony for Mandla North and
Mandla South. It was informed the proposed
modification of the Mine Plan to increase the rated capacity from 1 MTPA to 1.5
MTPA on the basis of an Australian Study as per which it is now proposed to
establish two Inclines and divide the mine into 2 working areas based on a
geological fault which acts as a natural barrier. Life of the mine with 1.5
MTPA rated capacity would be 40 years. It was stated that transportation of
coal would be by belt and elevating conveyor to surface onto loading hopper and
thereafter by road covering a distance of 15km to railway siding through SH. A loop
line of 800m length for coal transportation is proposed. The estimated manpower
requirement would be 1035 persons, of which 800 would be from the nearby
villages. It was informed that the Mining Plan has been approved. It was informed that an
The Committee desired that the feasibility of
The Committee decided to further consider the project upon receipt of the aforesaid details.
8. Brahmpuri Underground Coalmine Project (0.36 MTPA peak in an ML area of 360 ha) of M/s Pushp Steels & Mining (P) Ltd., located in located in Pench-Kanhan Coalfields, dist. Chindwara, M.P. (EC based on granted TOR dated 07.07.2009)
The proponent made a presentation. It was informed that the proposal is for opening a new Brahmpuri underground coalmine of 0.36 MTPA in a total ML area of 360 ha of which 115.685 ha is forest land, 60.323 ha is non –forest land, 183.992 ha is private land. An area of 2.268 ha forestland is required for coal block operation, and an area of 5 ha is required for shaft and surface infrastructure like CHP, building and colony. It was informed that is proposed to revise the Mining Plan to increase the production from 0.36 MTPA to 0.60 MTPA. The mine (No. 14 in Annexure-5) is located at about 20km from the viable tiger corridor and is flanked by Mandla North and Mandla South UG mines. River Pench flows 1.5-2.5 km from the southern and western boundaries of the lease area. Mining methodology is Board & Pillar and continuous miner. The working depth is about 330-400m bgl. Grade of coal is C to E and B to D in the lower seams. Peak production would be achieved in the 4th year after sinking of the shaft has been completed. Mining would be sequentially undertaken in three stages through shaft landings at three different levels. Subsidence is not anticipated due to presence of overlaying hard rock. Mining Plan has been approved for 23.04.2010. Ground water level is 15-18m bgl. Life of the mine is 40 years. CSR would be undertaken at Rs5/T of coal. Coal evacuation would be by trucks from the mine to railway siding proposed at a distance of 15 km at Parasia railway siding (existing Railway Siding of WCL) and by rail thereafter to the linked sponge iron plant located at a distance of 400km. It was informed that Stage-1 FC has been applied for. Public hearing was held on 21.02.2009. Manpower deployed would be 480 skilled and 120 unskilled. Unskilled manpower would be local. It was informed that it is proposed to provide training to local manpower for enhancing their skill. It was informed that mine water would be treated before disposal. Treatment of water would include neutralization and settling and addition of lime for precipitation of ferric oxide. A provision of Rs 4 crores has been earmarked for Mine Closure Plan. It was informed that village Bichhua Pather would be adopted under CSR, and involve improving facilities of education, health, communication and other basic amenities in the village. A budgetary provision of Rs 20 lakhs for capital costs is provided for CSR. Life of the project is about 40 years.
The Committee decided that increase of production capacity can be considered only with a fresh application for the enhanced capacity and the present proposal for EC would be considered for the 0.36 MTPA applied for which TOR was granted. The Committee observed that the levels of pollution level are high in the area and sought specific environmental management plan to ensure that the no additional pollution load is generated from the project. The Committee desired that the trucks should be mechanically covered to avoid spill over and fugitive emission. The Committee desired that the AAQ monitoring station should be at North-West and South East direction. The Committee observed that the mine water is acidic due to presence of pyrite in the rock. The Committee also observed that the ground water has high levels of Fluoride level (5.2 mg/l in Mandla, 2.3 mg/l in Chhinda village), and noted that levels of Iron are also high. The Committee desired that water monitoring is required regularly for the presence of Fluoride and Iron and water to be discharged outside the premises should be treated to conform to standards. The Committee noted that the proponent has not carried out “Hydrogeological study” of the proposed mine area and desired that the “Hydrogeological study” should be carried out. The Committee desired that measures for recharge of groundwater should be carried out. The Committee also observed that information provided by DFO, Chindwara vide letter no Ma-VE/2/1684/2009 dated 3.9.2009 on flora and fauna does not reflect the bio-diversity of the area with large number of forests. The Committee desired that a detailed study of flora and fauna be carried out through a recognised institution and furnished. The Committee desired that budgetary allocation for capital costs for CSR should be a minimum Rs 30 lakhs/year and @Rs 5/T of coal as recurring expenditure which should continue throughout the life of project. The Committee sought a copy of the Stage-1 FC. The Committee noted that only a CHP is proposed within the site and a coal washery can be established only with prior environmental clearance.
The Committee decided to further consider the project upon receipt of the aforesaid details.
9. Thesagora Block-B Underground Coalmine Project (1.5 MTPA in ML area of 500 ha) of M/s Thesgora Coal Pvt. Ltd., located in Pench-Kanhan Coalfields, dist. Chindwara, M.P. (TOR)
The block is located at the far end of the Pench-Kanhan coalfields (no.5 in Annexure-5) and is at a distance of about 30km from the viable corridor.
The proponent did not come for the presentation and hence, the proposal was not considered in the meeting.
10. Rawanwara North Underground Coalmine Project (1.4 MTPA over 168 ha) of M/s SKS Ispat & Power Ltd., located in Pench-Kanhan Coalfields, dist. Chindwara, M.P. (Further Internal consideration of TOR)
Director, MOEF informed that the proposal was considered in the EAC (T&C) meeting held on 22nd –23rd September 2009 wherein TOR was recommended. However, the proposal was kept in abeyance as the Report on the Pench-Satpura Tiger Corridor was awaited. The mine (no.24 in Annexure-5) is located in the middle of the Pench-Kanhan Coalfields and about 10km from the viable tiger corridor.
Representative of the company informed that the proponent has applied for Forestry Clearance. It was also informed that the Mining Plan has also been approved.
The Committee desired that the detail of mine closure plan should be provided in EIA/EMP. The Committee also desired that Proponent shall contribute on proportionate basis the amount required for Ecological–Restoration Plan for Pench Tiger Corridor prepared/implemented by State Govt. The Committee desired that copy of application for Stage-I FC should be furnished and Stage-1 FC should be submitted along with application for EC. The Committee recommended the aforesaid issues as additional TOR for the TOR recommended for the project.
11. Proposed Kolgaon OC
Project (0.40 MTPA to 0.50 MTPA with 0.60 MTPA peak production and expansion in
ML area from 360 ha to 397.25 ha) of
M/s Western Coalfields Ltd. located in Tehsil Wani, district
proponent made a presentation. It was informed that the present proposal is for
expansion in production from 0.40 MTPA to 0.50 MTPA (normative) and 0.6 MTPA
(peak) in the existing ML area of 397.25 ha. Main linkage is MAHAGENCO. EC was
obtained on 12.04.2002 for 0.4 MTPA production capacity project. It was
informed that the production in the mine could start 3 years thereafter due to
problems of land acquisition. Of the total ML area, 390.39 ha is agricultural
land and 2.28 ha is wasteland (4.58 ha of land will be acquired outside the ML
area for colony. No forestland is involved. River Penganga flows at a distance
of 0.3 km away and
of coal is E. The total OB generation would increase from 28.21 Mm3 to 39.28
Mm3 of which 34.97 Mm3 OB would be in external dump and 4.31 Mm3
OB would be in internal dump. There are 8
Committee desired that the capacity of trucks used for transportation should minimum
25T trucks and should be mechanically covered. The Committee desired that bamboo
should be planted on
The Committee decided to further consider the project upon receipt of the aforesaid details.
12. Bellora Naigaon OCP (expansion
of ML area from 398.66 ha to 626.17 ha at 1.25 MTPA ) of M/s Western Coalfields Ltd., dist.
proposal is for expansion in ML area of the Bellora Naigaon Opencast Coal mine
project from 398.66 ha to 626.17 ha at 1.25 MTPA rated capacity, for extension of existing Naigaon OC mine in
the dip–side from the present depth of 100 m to 170 m, thereby annexing
additional land as well as coal reserve for sustaining the approved EC capacity
(1.25 MTPA) for another 21 years. EC was granted to Naigaon OC
Expn. of 1.25 MTPA capacity on 02.02.2009 and forestry clearance for the 40.50
ha of forestland was obtained on 09.09.1993. Of the total ML area of 626.17 ha,
40.50 ha is forestland, 536.35 ha is agricultural land and 49.32 ha is
wasteland (4.58 ha of land will be acquired outside the ml area for colony. Of the
total ML area of 626.17 ha, 225.80ha is quarry (of which area backfilled area is
83.12 ha and void to be left is 142.68 ha), area under plantation 72.20 ha, area
for ext. OB dump is 223.97 ha (of which area under plantation is 190 ha), 26.00
ha is for infrastructure (with plantation on 6 ha), 104.342 ha is for blasting
zone and area for rationalisation of mine boundary, 18.45 ha is for embankment developed
with plantation, 21.608 ha is undisturbed area with plantation and 6 ha is for
township with plantation on 0.50 ha. Mining would be with shovel-dumper
combination. Ultimate working depth is 170m bgl. Grade of coal is E. Of the
total OB generation of 124.73 Mm3 in the balance life of the mine, an estimated
89.19 Mm3 would be stored in external
proponent informed that although the total
The Committee desired that the proponent examine the option for increasing the backfilling to the extent possible. The Committee desired that a provision of Rs 90 lakhs /annum be made for CSR. The Committee further desired that an Action Plan for CSR activity to be carried out in the villages in future be furnished. The Committee desired that the company must play a facilitating role to the local communities for undertaking various activities such as constitution of Co-operative society as expressed in the Public Hearing.
The Committee decided to further consider the project upon receipt of the aforesaid details.
13. Establishment of Coal Slurry Plant of M/s Royal Coal Washeries Pvt. Ltd., village Sarbari, Dist. Purulia, West Bengal (TOR)
The proponent did not come for the presentation and the proposal was not considered in the meeting.
14. Parsa East and Kanta Basan Opencast Mine (10 MTPA) and Coal Washery (10 MTPA) of M/s Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd., of Hasdeo-Arand Coalfields in Tehsil Udaypur, Dist. Sarguja, Chhattisgarh (EC based on TOR granted on 18.03.2008 read with TOR granted on 11.07.2009)
It was informed that the project had already been recommended for EC in EAC meeting dated 23.09.2009 subject to certain clarification. PP had submitted clarification to Ministry vide letter no. RVUNL/CE (PPC & F)./D.1718 dated 12.10.2009 & RVUNL/CE(PPC & F)/D.2087 dated 30.11.2009 but had sought deferment from consideration in the EAC (T&C) meeting held on 25th February 2010, when the proposal was to be considered on the matter of forestry and wildlife issues were to be discussed. The proposal has been placed for further consideration in view of the fact that FC has been granted vide MOEF vide letter dated 06.07.2011 vide a speaking Order dated 23.06.2011 of former MEF for according FC (Annexure-6), which is available on the MOEF website, was read out.
The Committee sought details of the various issues since its last consideration and with specific reference to the forest and wildlife issues.
The proponent made a presentation. A copy of the NOC from CGWA for using 600 m3/d of groundwater obtained vide letter no. 21-4(44)/NCCR/CGWA/2009-690 dated 23.09.2009 was furnished. The Modified R&R Plan including a Plan including Tribal Development Plan of Rs 212.63 crores was also provided. Details of progressive and final mine closure plan were given. The copy of Stage –I forestry clearance granted by MOEF for diversion of 1898.328 ha forest land vide letter no. 8-31/2010-FC dated 6.7.2011 was also given during the presentation. It was informed that a Wildlife Conservation Plan with an outlay of Rs 22 crores has been prepared for 20 years which has been approved by PCCF(WL), Govt. of Chhattisgarh vide letter 09/3062 dated 17.09.2009.
The Committee observed that a letter No. No. Kra/Va/Pra/prabandh/09/3062
dated 17.09.2009 of PCCF (WL), Govt. of Chhattisgarh forwarded to Chief
Secretary, which states that since the project area is inhabited by endangered fauna
such as leopard, elephant and other endangered wild animals, the project could
come up only with UG mining. The Committee
was also of the view that the location of these blocks and opencast mining to
be carried out therein, albeit in the fringe area of the Hasdeo-Arand
Coalfields, the proposed opening of the opencast coalmine project would have a
negative impact on the adjoining virgin areas of the Hasdeo-Arand Coalfields
and the forests would be fragmented and damaged and the bio-diversity of the
area would be affected. The Committee desired that a specific clarification on
whether opencast operations should be permitted in view of the PCCF (WL)’ s
letter for UG mining, requires to be obtained from the State Government. The Committee
noted that the forestry clearance of the MOEF is subject to mining being
carried out in 2 phases – Phase-I of 15 years and Phase-II thereafter of 15 years. i.e, FC is subject to the operation of
the opencast mine in the Mining Plan has been divided into two phases based on
the environmental and forestry concerns. The FC states that Phase-II of the
mining would be permitted only after a Report in regard to compliance of
conditions including reclamation of Phase-I is obtained. The Committee desired
that details of Phase–I and Phase–II mining (progressive mine development and
mine closure) should be presented, which includes details of calendar plan of
The Committee after discussions decided to further consider the project for after receipt of the aforesaid details.
15. Tara Block Opencast Coal Mine (6 MTPA in 2778.19 ha ML area) of M/s Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corp. Ltd. located in Hasdeo Arand Coalfields dist. Sarguja, Chhattsigarh (EC based on TOR granted on 13.04.2007)
Tara Opencast Coalmine Project proposed for a production capacity of 6 MTPA in an ML area of 2778.19 ha comprising of 1999.82 ha of protected forests, and 301.46 ha of Chote Bare Jhar Ke Jungle and the balance 476.93 ha of the ML area consists of is non forest land. The proposal was considered in the EAC (T&C) meeting held on 23.09.2009 and was to be further considered in the EAC (T&C) meeting on 25.02.2010. The EAC however based on the letter dated 24.02.2010 of the MOEF rejecting forestry clearance to the project since the project falls in forest area with high ecological and forest value and the project area has an estimated 8.46 lakh primarily medium-large girth trees and felling such as dense forest would have a negative impact on the entire region, decided to not consider the proposal for EC.
The proposal has been placed for further consideration in view of the fact that FC has been granted vide MOEF vide letter dated 05.07.2011 vide a speaking Order dated of former MEF for according FC, which is available on the MOEF website, was read out (Annexure-6).
The proponent made a presentation. The Committee was informed that the FC has been granted by the MOEF as major revisions were made to the project since its rejection on 24.02.2010. These revisions include the following:
(i) Reduction in the overall mine working area from 2000ha to 778 ha.
(ii) Reduction in dense forest by approximately 61%. Medium density forests have been reduced from 2000 ha to 778 ha
(iii) Total trees to be felled reduced from 8.5 lakhs to 1.2 lakhs,
(iv) Plan to transplant trees up to 60 m girth (70-112 nos).
(v) The operation period of the project has been reduced from 45 years to 25 years at 6 MTPA production capacity.
(vi) Transportation of coal from mine to the power plant situated 7 km away will be through overhead conveyor only.
The proponent stated that due to the changes made in the Project Plan
as above, Stage –I Forestry Clearance has been obtained on 23.06.2011vide
letter no.F.no.8-38/2009-FC dated 05.07. 2011. It was informed that landuse
break up as per revised plan consists of a total area of 1801.31 ha, of which
1022.94 ha is PF (PF reduced by 48.85%), 301.44 ha RF, 476.90 ha tenancy land.
PP informed that of the revised ML area of 1801.31 ha, 1476 ha is for quarry (excavation),
111.22 ha is for external
The Committee observed that
The Committee desired that the proponent explore options for a combination of OC and UG mining in the forest area wherein the proponent could consider leaving the areas with outcropped seams altogether from mining, for further consideration of the Committee.
16. Talaipalli Coalmine (OC at 18 MTPA capacity and UG at 0.72 MTPA capacity of a total project area of 2349.35 ha) of M/s NTPC located in Tehsil Gharghoda, district Raigarh, Chhattisgrah (EC based on TOR granted on 29.11.2009)
proponent made a presentation. It was informed that the proposal is for opening
a new OC-cum-UG coalmine project. The application for EC has been made for a
production capacity of 18 MTPA for OC mine and 0.72 MTPA for the UG mine. The
coal from the mine would used in Lara Super Thermal Power
Project (4000MW). Of the total project area of 2349.35ha of which the total ML
area is 2113 ha and an area of 236.35 ha of land outside the ML is required for
colony, R&R colony and MGR. Of the total project area, 1301.11 ha is
private land, 262.97 ha is Govt. land, 785.27 ha is forestland. There are 5
Break-up of Land use:
Mine lease area
It was informed that of the total ML area, 2079.34 ha is for the mine and 26 ha is for infrastructure and an embankment proposed along River Kelo and 7.66 ha is for green belt. Kurra nalla flowing through the ML is proposed to be diverted into a Channel (diversion canal) which would be constructed along the northern side of the block and ultimately join River Kelo. It was informed that a 60m wide forestland between river Kelo and quarry area is proposed to be left undisturbed. Grade of coal is E-G with ash up 52%. Mining technology for OC mining would be shovel-dumper and Board & Pillar and Continuous Miner for UG mine. Ultimate working depth is 404m bgl. The total estimated OB generation from the mine is 3777.07 Mm3, of which 264.52 Mm3 of OB generated from the eastern and western parts of the mineralised areas which is to be operated as two quarries would be stored in a temporary ext. OB dump on the coal bearing area within the ML and subsequently backfilled into the decoaled mine void during the 9th year and continue to be backfilled into the decoaled voids until the 20th year. It was informed that an estimated 264.52 Mm3 of OB is proposed to be dumped and stored in a temporary external dump of 60m height and an area of 446 ha on coal bearing area within the ML which would be rehandled during the 5th year of mine operation when backfilling begins upto 20th year and beyond 20th year and thereafter until 52nd year, concurrent backfilling would implemented. At the post mining stage, a water body of 240 ha and a depth of 404m would be created, which could be reduced to about 350m. Life of the OC mine is 52 years and UG mine is 30 years. It was informed that UG mining would commence 20 years after commencement of OC mining. It was stated that there are 21 coal horizons and it would be unsafe to work the top seams by UG mining. The lower 4 seams are planned by UG mining. The parting between OC and OG mining is about 33m-51m. Mining Plan Approval obtained on 31.032010. Total estimated water requirement of the project is 2390 m3/d of which 750m3/d is for domestic use and 1640 m3/d is for the mine operation. Water table is in the range of 6.10-7.20m bgl (pre-monsoon) and 2.9-12.3 m bgl (post-monsoon). The project involves R&R of 1531 PAPs, which includes 635 PAPs who would be displaced and require resettlement in a colony which was originally planned as township for the project employees. R&R Plan has been prepared after a detailed survey was carried out and after 10 VDAC meetings and Gram Sabhas and meeting with DC, for a total cost of Rs 677 crores, of which rehabilitation is for Rs 214 crores. CSR plan has been prepared for Rs 40 crores. Since the project falls in a notified tribal area, a Plan for Tribal Development for Rs 5 crores has been prepared. Capital costs for EMP is Rs 1018.80 lakhs with an annual recurring budget of Rs5.66/T of coal. An estimated 56, 727 TPD of coal would be transported through an MGR system of 180.54 ha of land to Kotaraliya Railway Siding. Public Hearing was held on 10.12.2010. It was informed that the WL Conservation Plan should be ready within 2-3 months.
The Committee desired that the Plan for diversion of
Kurra nala may be modified to include a major stream flowing through the ML
towards the north side. The Committee desired that the
proponent examine not disturbing the forest area towards River Kelo along the
east side. The Committee observed that an area of 1800 ha of backfilled area
which is 60m above ground level would be created at the end of mine life. The
Committee desired that the
Committee stated that mining upto 400m depth and the consequent dewatering of
the mine would result in vertical and lateral drawl of groundwater availability
in the surrounding catchment area. The Committee desired that a Plan for
recharging and monitoring of ground water in the impact zone be furnished. The Committee
desired that water quality must be monitored for presence of TDS/TSS and
surface water also monitored to meet the norms (desirable limit). PP should not
show permissible limit instead of desirable limit in baseline water quality
report. The Committee observed that endangered species such as elephant, bear
and leopard are reported in the area which is not mentioned in EIA-EMP Report. The
Committee further observed that the Wildlife Plan is under preparation and
approval of PCCF (WL), Chhattisgarh is yet to be obtained. The Committee noted
that elephants visit the study area along the MGR route from the TPP. The Committee
desired that the Conservation Plan must incorporate creation of safe
passage/corridor within the project area for safe passage of animals including
elephant. Reclamation of
It was further noted that as a large number of trees in the forest area are proposed to be felled, and the area is predominantly a tribal area, and many of the villagers are dependent on Mahua and other minor forest produce for their livelihood, the flora and fauna which they are dependent upon would be destroyed and the water resources would be disturbed. The Committee desired that the afforestation plan should address the issue of providing alternate livelihood for the tribals dependent on the minor forest produce for their livelihood and details furnished. The Committee desired that the provision of Tribal Development Plan in the Project cost should be increased from Rs 5 crores to Rs 10 crores. In addition, budget for revenue expenditure on CSR activities should be @Rs 5/t of coal or more. The Committee desired that project affected youth should be given training in ITI for enhancing their skill for direct/indirect employment.
The Committee noted that there were a large number of objections raised in the Public Hearing. The Committee desired that the issues raised during the Public Hearing and action to be taken/commitments made and action taken/proposed on the specific activities along with budgetary provisions should be showed in tabular forms and furnished. The Committee observed that there are 10 VDAC constituted by the SDM, Gharghoda in June 2008. The Committee desired that female social scientist female should also be included for implementation of R&R and CSR. The Committee desired that an Action Plan for R&R should be furnished along with the implementation schedule of R&R Plan.
The Committee after discussions decided to further consider the project for after receipt of the aforesaid details.
17. Proposed Nerad Malegaon Coal Mining Project
(0.15 MTPA by OC and 0.21 MTPA by UG in a ML area of 465 ha) of M/s Wani
Coalfields Pvt. Ltd. in village Nerad, Tehsil Jhari-Zamni, Dist. Yavatmal,
The proponent made a presentation. It was informed that M/s Wani Coalfields Pvt. Ltd. JVC Company of M/s Gupta Metallics & Power Ltd and M/s Gupta Coalfield & Washeries Ltd. The proposal is for opening a new opencast-cum-underground coalmine project of a total production capacity of 0.36 MTPA consisting of 0.15 MTPA by OC mining and 0.21 MTPA by UG mining. The coal is for use in the Power Plant at Gugghus and in the Sponge Iron Plant in Chandrapur district. The proposed project is about 65 km away from Chandrapur area. The entire ML area of 465 ha is agricultural land. No forestland is involved. Of the total ML area, 125 ha of land is required for OC mining and 244 ha for UG mining. Of the total 125 ha for OC mining, 30ha is for external OB dump, 5 ha is for infrastructures,7.5 ha is for top soil dump,3.5 ha is for haul road, 25 ha is safety zone, and 4 ha is for mine entry for UG mining.
The salient features of the project is given below:
Production capacity (MTPA)
Area within ML (ha)
Conventional Shovel-Dumper and surface miner combination
Board & Pillar Method with sand stowing
Life of mine (years) +2 years for construction
There are no National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuary,
Biosphere Reserves within the study area. River
Vidarbha which is not a perennial river, flows from at a distance of 550-600m
to the east of the ML. A seasonal drain, Lallya nala passing through the mining
lease towards south would be diverted and realigned to its original course. It was informed that the total water
requirement is 590 m3/d. Opencast mining is proposed in 125 ha area in four
sectors. Coal production of 0.15MTPA would be from east, central and west
quarry and 0.08MTPA production from south quarry, which is a small patch. The
quarries would be worked sequentially whereby
Public Hearing was held on 06.04.2011. A provision
of Rs 17.10 lakhs/year has been made for CSR. It was clarified that that high
Fluoride concentration has been reported in groundwater in a number of villages
e.g. Pimpri, Bharna, Wadhona etc. Recent survey of Water Supply and Sanitation
Department, Govt. of Maharashtra has indicated endemic fluorosis (skeletal and
dental). However, no F has been detected in the core zone. The proponent has
suggested two methods for treating water in fluoride affected areas
“Electrochemical and RO”. It was informed that awareness campaigns have been
launched by the proponent in fluoride affected villages and for operation of
RO, flourosis and treatment of water. It was informed that electro chemical method
is used for treating water for fluorosis, when other parameters other than
fluoride meet drinking water quality criteria, whereas ‘RO /Ultra filtration
has to be used when TDS/Chloride levels are high i.e. for saline water. It was
informed that the water could also be acidic in case of pyrite rocks. R&R involves 176 land losers in village Nerad
and 74 in village
Committee desired that if the mine
pit water is acidic due to presence of sulphur and pyrite bearing rocks in the
area then treatment of mine water is required before discharge from the mine
into drains, nalas and other surface waters. The Committee observed that
proponent is planning OB dump near river and desired that the
The Committee after discussions decided that the project would be internally considered upon confirmation of the aforesaid issues.
18. Gare IV/1 Opencast Coalmine Project (Expn. of ML area from 705.556 ha to 978.654ha at 6 MTPA) and Expn. of Coal Washery from 2.4 MTPA to 3.2 MTPA) of M/s Jindal Steel & Power Ltd. located in dist. Raigarh, Chhattisgarh (Further consideration of EC based on TOR 24.04.2008)
The proposal was considered in the EAC (T&C) meeting held on 18th -19th April 2011 wherein it was decided that a WL Conservation Plan for conservation of elephants reported/visiting the area should be prepared and presented before the Committee. In addition, the Committee also sought status of Stage-I clearance for the forestland vide MOEF Circular dated 31.03.2011.
The proponent made a presentation. It was recalled that the proposal was for expansion in ML area by 273.091 ha which falls adjacent to Orissa border and for expansion of capcity of exiting washery from 2.4 MTPA to 3.2 MTPA (capacity addition of 0.8 MTPA). Shri R.S. Kanoje, Retd. Deputy Conservator of Forests, who made a presentation to the Committee on behalf of Project Proponent, informed that elephants generally pass from district Sarguja to Orissa through this area. It was informed that the study area is an un-notified migratory route/corridor of elephants. It was further informed that the WL Conservation Plan has been approved by the Govt. of Chhattisgarh. However, the proponent could not furnish details of maps on which the normal route/migratory, corridor of elephants passing from Dist. Sarguja to Orissa vis-à-vis location of the project, areas of the study visited by the elephants, etc. In view of this, the Committee decided to consider the project on this issue again. The proponent furnished a copy of the Stage-I FC dated 02.02.2011 accorded for 91.179 ha.
The Committee desired that the WL Conservation Plan must incorporate a plan for habitat restoration and for eco-rejuvenation of the areas normally used by the elephants as a habitat or as a corridor. This should be developed to ensure that the elephants do not deviate form their normal passage and habitat to venture into villages and destroy crops, property, etc. The Committee also desired that as part of the WL Conservation Plan, fencing should be provided only to quarry, areas of inhabitation such as colony, infrastructure, offices, etc and areas, which are undisturbed or reclaimed after mining should be re-vegetated with species found in the original ecosystem as part of the plan for habitat restoration. The Committee desired that Wildlife Conservation Plan should be accordingly prepared and presented before committee. Committee and desired that the issues be discussed Dr.V.B. Mathur, Dean, WII, Dehradun and Member of EAC.
The Committee after discussions decided to further consider the project for after receipt of the aforesaid details.
19. Gare IV/2 and IV/3 Opencast and Underground Coal Mine (7 MTPA in an ML area of 964.65 ha) of M/s Jindal Power Ltd. and Coal Washery (4.75 MTPA) proposed to be established at Tamnar Coal mines (Gare IV/2 and IV/3), Tehsil Gharghoda, district Raigarh, Chhattisgarh (Further consideration of EC based on TOR)
The proposal was earlier considered in the EAC (T&C) meeting held on 18th -19th April 2011, wherein the issue of proposed diversion of Bendra Nala was discussed and had sought details of the design of the flow of the diversion canal on a contour map. The Committee had also sought details of feasibility trials of dumping of flyash into the decoaled voids, particularly on the levels of heavy metals and its leachability characteristics. The Committee had also desired that a detailed CSR Plan should be prepared in a booklet form and furnished to the Ministry. The Committee further desired that a Third party audit /monitoring is required for CSR activity. The Committee desired that activities under CSR should continue for life of the mine (49 years) and a provision of Rs 5/T of coal or Rs 3.21 crores per annum (whichever is higher) for CSR should be undertaken for the villages in the study area. The Committee had sought details of status of grant of FC for the forestland vide MOEF Circular dated 31.03.2011.
On the washery proposal, the Committee had sought a response on the complaint dated 10.04.2011 received on e-mail from Jan Chetna on the captive pit head coal washery, which had been circulated to the EAC and a copy was also given to the proponent seeking response/clarification on the issues raised in the e-mail and on the Legal Notice dated 22.10.2010 received by the Ministry from Shri Ramesh Agarwal, Jan Chetna on the issue of establishment of the coal washery at Gare IV/2 and 3 without prior EC. The Committee had also desired details of the washery capacity in terms of raw coal, clean coal and coal rejects in millions of tonnes of coal per annum.
The proponent made a presentation.
It was stated that the diversion channel has been done as per the Revised
Mining Plan dated 03.08.2009 by MOC (i.e. after grant of TOR) whereby the
quarry area was increased from 722.26 ha to 866.25 ha for conservation of 3.866MT of coal that can be mined in the
stretch of Bendra Nala flowing within the ML. It was informed that the coal seams VII &VIII are outcropped in the
area and are shallow deposits with a low stripping ratio of 0.86. It was stated
that Bendra nalla is a seasonal nallah and diversion of nallah would not have
any effect whatsoever. The proponent informed that further, the Hasdeo Kacher
Water Resource Department (WRD), Bilaspur has approved the proposed diversion
of Bendra nalla vide letter dated 04.04.2011.Diversion of Bendra nala would be
taken within ML area under the supervision of WRD. It was indicated that
no mine water would be discharged into the Bendra Nala as it is required for
the mine and washery operations it will be used for coal
washery, dust suppression, green belt balance will be supplied to villagers for
agriculture use as agriculture is practiced within the ML. On the issue of flyash
dumping, it was informed that the Final Report of IIT was submitted to DGMS in April 2011. It was further informed
that the plan for flyash
dumping involves mixing of flyash with
The Committee observed that the proponent should have come for a modification of TOR for the proposed diversion of Bendra Nala before the conduct of P.H. The Committee desired that diversion channel should follow the natural gradient and join at the point of original exit at the ML boundary in its original course, so that the downstream users of Bendra Nala are not affected due to the proposed diversion. The Committee also desired that the original flow of the Bendra nala should not be disturbed due to the diversion. Further, mine water/rainfall outflow, if any, from the mine should meet prescribed norms and the water quality of such discharge should be monitored at the exit points and records maintained thereof and also uploaded on the company website. The Committee observed that since the entire mine water due to dewatering of the mine is to be used for the mine-cum-washery operations, the Committee desired that proponent take measures for recharging ground water in and around the mine in the study area. The Committee noted that the matter of dumping of flyash had not been provided in the TOR application and hence was not reflected in the TOR granted for the project. The Committee noted that that the Study got undertaken by the proponent through IIT had indicated no significant presence of heavy metals in the flyash being dumped into the decoaled voids and consequently, possible leachate contamination of aquifers is not likely. The Committee noted that DGMS permission is regarding stability of the dump and possible dump failures due to dumping of flyash and not on the environmental concerns that long-term dumping of flyash entails. The Committee stated that the negative consequence of flyash dumping such as contamination of groundwater with leachates may be observed only after 10-15 years of continued dumping, and desired that permanent monitoring arrangements such as peizometers should be established in and around the mine area covering the potential impact zone for contamination of heavy metals due to leachates from the flyash and in case the levels of heavy metals is found to increase in the groundwater, then further dumping of flyash should be stopped immediately. The details of the monitoring data should be provided as part of the compliance Report to MOEF RO and to SPCB. The Committee desired that activities under CSR should continue for life of the mine (49 years) and a provision of Rs 5/T of coal or Rs 3.21 crores per annum (whichever is higher) for CSR should be undertaken for the villages in the study area. The Committee further desired that details of village-wise activities under CSR should be uploaded on the company website and the status of its implementation along with expenditure thereon and also desired that a Third party audit of implementation of CSR should be done periodically.
On the issue of coal washery, the Committee noted that the CTE was granted in March 2007, after the EIA Notification 2006 came into effect, which required prior EC for start of developmental activities. The Committee noted that although a Circular dated 21.11.2006 was issued by MOEF for obtaining EC by June 2007, the application for TOR itself was received in the MOEF only in March 2007 and it was practically unfeasible to obtain an EC within 3 months by June 2007, since a minimum one season data collection for preparation of EIA-EMP is required and conduct of Public Hearing thereafter, and an application for EC submitted immediately; therefore, considering the time-lines involved for each of these steps, the proponent should not have started the construction at all. The Committee decided that the matter of violation should be referred to the MOEF for appropriate action.
The Committee after discussions recommended the project for environmental clearance on the basis of the aforesaid conditions.
20. Proposed Bhelatand Coal Washery (Normative Capacity 1.5 MTPA and peak capacity 2 MTPA) of M/s S&T Mining located in Jharia Coalfields. Dist. Dhanbad, Jharkhand (Further Internal consideration of EC based on TOR)
The proposal was considered in the EAC (T&C) meeting held on 23rd -24th May 2011, wherein the following details were sought:
(i) Detail of ‘Teetered Bed Washery”
(ii) Details of retest of water quality of ground and surface water.
The Committee observed that the levels of TDS in the re-tested samples were high and desired that the water should be treated to prescribed limits before dsicshrge form the premises.
The Committee recommended the project for EC.
The meeting ended with a vote of thanks to the chair.
* * *
PARTICIPANTS IN 29th EXPERT APPRAISAL COMMITTEE (THERMAL & COAL MINING) IN THE MEETING HELD ON 18th -19th JULY 2011 ON COAL SECTOR PROJECTS
1. Shri V.P. Raja … … … … Chairman
2. Prof. C.R. Babu … … … … Vice-Chairman
3. Shri T.K. Dhar … … …… … Member
4. Shri J.L. Mehta … … … … Member
5. Prof. G.S. Roonwal … … … … Member
6. Dr.V.B.Mathur, Dean, WII … … … … Member
7. Dr. D.S. Attri, Scientist, IMD … … … Member
8. Dr. T. Chandini … … … .. Scientist F MOEF
9. Dr. Rubab Jaffer … … … … Scientist B, MOEF
1. Shri R.K.Garg, Advisor, Coal India Ltd. attended the meeting on both days.
PARTICIPANTS IN 29th MEETING OF EXPERT APPRAISAL COMMITTEE (THERMAL & COAL MINING) HELD ON 18th -19th JULY 2011 ON COAL MINING PROJECTS
1. M/s Neyveli Lignite Corporation Ltd.
1. Shri Su Sa Arul Raj, NLC
2. Sh K.Augan, CGM, NLC
3. Sh. U.W.Datey, Kirloskar Consultants
4. Shri S.Kishore Kumar, Kirloskar Consultants
5. Sh. Shakil Ahmad, Sr.Mgr., NLC
6. Sh. E.Hanumantha Rao, Dy.GM, NLC
2. M/s Western Coalfields Ltd.
1. Sh. Om Prakash, D (T) P&P, WCL (forenoon only)
2. Sh. S.K.Jagnania, CMPDIL
3. Sh. A.C.Ray, GM (Env.)
5. Sh. Mohd. Nooruddin
3. M/s. Jaiprakash Associated Ltd.
1. Sh. R.N.Jha, President
2. Sh. P.K.Goel, Sr.V.P.
3. Sh. Sandeep
4. Sh. Amirban Paul
5. Sh. M.S.Sandhu
6. Sh. S.K.Roy
4. M/s Pushp Steels & Mining (P) Ltd.
1. Sh. V.P.Theragaokar
2. Sh. Rajashekar
3. Sh. Haq
4. Sh Sanjay Jain
5. Sh Atul Jain
6. Sh AKF Haque
7. Sh Sanjeev Kumar
5. M/s Thesgora Coal Pvt. Ltd. – did not come for the meeting
6. M/s SKS Ispat & Power Ltd.
1. Sh. Ajay Vishnoi, AGM, Corprate Affairs
7. M/s Royal Coal Washeries Pvt. Ltd. – did not come for the meeting
8. M/s Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd.
1. Sh. N.M. Mathur, Dir. (Tech.)
2. Sh. A.K.Purohit, CE
3. Sh. Ravi Sharma
4. Sh. M.M. Jodurkar
5. Sh. Vijant Choudhary
6. Sh. BS Sodhi
7. Sh R.K.Gaur
8. Sh. GV Rai
9. Sh. Janardhan, Vimta Labs
9. M/s Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corp. Ltd.
1. Sh. Hrishikesh Sinha
2. Sh.M.K.Sharma, Advisor
3. Sh. D.K.Srivastava, DGM (P)
4. Sh. S.P.Yadav
5. Sh. Shashi Kumar
6. Sh PS Yadav, GM, CMDC
10. M/s National Thermal Power Corp. Ltd.
1. Sh Kabir Pasha, Sr.Mgr
2. Sh.Sanjiv Kr. Singh, Sr.Mgr
3. Sh. Neeraj Kapoor, DGM
4. Sh. YP Bajaj, Consulatnt
5. Sh RK Baderia, DGM (env.)
7. Dr.M.L.Naik (Cosnultnat)
8. Sh B Chakravorty, Sr.Mgr
9. Sh AK Dgm, AGM
10. Sh R.Ramana, GM
11. Sh U Sadanandam, Sr.Engr
12. Dr.S.M.Kolay, Consultant
13. Sh S.N.Goel, ED
14. Sh AB Haldar, GM,Talaipalli
15. Sh Sankalp Srivastava
16. Sh P.Giri, Consultant
11. M/s Wani Coalfields Pvt. Ltd.
1. Sh JK Bigharia, D (Tech.)
2. Sh. Ashok Muruthan
3. Sh. SS Mohanil
4. Sh VP Theragaonkar
5. Sh Mundra
6. Sh Bigharia
7. Sh Anil Deshmunia
12. M/s Jindal Steel & Power Ltd.
1. S.R.Chary, VP
2. Sh RS Sharma, MD
3. Dr.JK Soni, VP (env.)
4. Sh RB Upadhyaya
5. Sh.Shashank Jaiswal
6. Sh.Anand Goel
7. Sh RS Kanoje
13. M/s Jindal Power Ltd.
1. Sh PK Chakraborty, ED
2. Sh Shishir Sinha, GM
3. Dr.JK Soni, VP (Env.)
4. Sh Suman Jana, AGM
6. Sh S.Sarkar
REPORT OF MOEF ON PENCH-SATPURA TIGER CORRIDOR
F. No. 11-164/2010-FC
Ministry of Environment and Forests
Dated 17th June, 2011
I am directed to enclose herewith a
note on the decision taken by this Ministry on the grant of
Encl.: As above.
Assistant Inspector General of Forests
Ministry of Coal,
Coal India Limited,
Kolkata, 700 001 West
The Principal secretary (Forests)
Government of Madhya Pradesh,
The Chief Wildlife Warden,
Government of Madhya Pradesh,
The Member Secretary,
National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA),
Ministry of Environment & Forests,
Wildlife Institute of
Post Bag # 18,
Shri Rajiv Kumar Garg,
Coal India Limited,
5th Floor, Case 1 & 2, Scope Minar,
District Centre, Lakshi Nagar,
The Director General,
PO- IPE, Dehradun 248 195 Uttarakhand
1. PS to the SS (JMM), MoEF
2. PS to Adv. (NB), MoEF
Note on Decision taken by the Ministry of Environment & Forests on Grant of Forest and Environment Clearance to Coal Mining Projects Located in Pench-Kanhan Coalfield in Chhindwara District of Madhya Pradesh
1. During examination of a proposal seeking diversion of forest land for a coal mining projects in Pench-Kanhan Coalfield located in Chindwara district of the Madhya Pradesh, the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) during its meeting convened on 18.11.2010 noted that a committee constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. S.K. Sen, former Director, Project Tiger, for appraisal of the seven coal sector projects in Chhindwara District of Madhya Pradesh, vis-a-vis the Pench-Satpura tiger corridor has observed that all the proposed seven mines will prove detrimental for the long term survival of large ranging cat like tigers. The committee therefore, strongly recommended that new clearance for the above seven mine projects and any more new proposals in the tiger corridor should be rejected.
2. The FAC after thorough deliberations observed that decision on the proposal should necessarily be based on detailed analysis of the floral and faunal parameters of the forests in the entire Pench-Satpura tiger corridor, in general, and in and around the forest land identified for development of coal blocks, both existing as well as proposed, in particular. An exercise similar to the one undertaken in nine major coal fields in the country to classify the coal blocks into category-A and category-B, based on the forest cover, forest cover continuity and wildlife habitat value, also needs to be undertaken for the coalfields (both existing as well as proposed) located in the entire landscape covering Pench-Satpura tiger corridor.
3. The Member-Secretary, National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), representatives of Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun, Ministry of Coal, Coal India Ltd. etc. were therefore invited to attend the next meeting the FAC convened on 16.12.2010.
4. The FAC further examined the said matter during its meeting convened on 16.12.2010. Dr. Yadvendradev Jhala, Scientist from the Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun made a detailed presentation on effect of coal mining in the Pench-Kanhan coalfield on migratory corridor connecting Pench and Satpura Tiger Reserves. The FAC also examined the latest forest cover map of the Pench Satpura landscape indicating location of the 68 coal blocks of the Pench-Kanhan coalfield, prepared by the Forest Survey of India.
5. Dr. Jhala and Member-Secretary NTCA informed as below during the meeting:
(i) A fairly dense and contiguous wildlife corridor (hereinafter called as ‘viable corridor’) connecting Pench and Satpura Tiger Reserve is running from south western to southern side of the Chhindwara town;
(ii) No contiguous corridor is however, found to exist near Parasia town and northern side of Chaindwara town where majority of the coal blocks of the Pench Kanhan coalfield are located. Density of vegetation available in that area is also fairly low. The severely fragmented forest of that area also does not lead to any source population of tiger and other important wildlife species; and
(iii) The major part of the Pench-Kanhan coalfield is not located in the viable corridor. A few coal blocks located on its western side are however located within the viable corridor;
6. The FAC after examination of the said records and interaction with Member- Secretary NTCA, Dr. Jhala, representatives of the Ministry of Coal, Coal India Limited and the Western Coalfield Limited, present during the meeting, concurred with the said observation of the Member-Secretary NTCA and Dr. Jhala and recommended as below:
(i) To achieve the twin objective of the forest and wildlife conservation and economic development, it will be prudent to permit mining in the coal blocks located on eastern and northern portion of the Pench- Kanhan coalfield which are neither part of any wildlife corridor nor are located in the area having dense forest cover; and levy certain amount from each such project to rejuvenate, restore and undertake appropriate mitigation measures in and around the viable corridor;
(ii) No mining shall however, be permitted in the coal blocks located within the viable corridor. All mines, including the underground mines, presently working in these coal blocks shall also be phased out in a time bound manner;
(iii) The NTCA, in consultation with WII may identify the boundary of the viable corridor;
(iv) The Forest Survey of India, and the Ministry of Coal/ WCL may provide the latest forest cover map and boundary, in the digital format, of each coal block located in the Pench-Kanhan Coal field respectively, to the NTCA to facilitate it to identify the coal blocks located within of the viable corridor;
(v) The Forest Survey of India, may assess the extent/area of forest cover of each density class available in each coal block, from the imageries used for preparation of the latest State of Forest Report to facilitate this Ministry to assess category of each coal block as has been done in nine major coalfields in the country;
(vi) The NTCA in consultation with WII and the Chief Wildlife Warden (CWLW), Government of Madhya Pradesh may formulate a detailed plan for restoration and rejuvenation of the viable corridor so as to facilitate this Ministry to levy, on proportionate basis, the amount required for its implementation from the user agencies who may be allowed to undertake mining in the Pench-Kanhan coalfield;
(vii) The NTCA in consultation with WII and the CWLW, Government of Madhya Pradesh may also study the adverse impacts of the transportation of the coal to be extracted from the Pench-Kanhan coalfield on the viable corridor, and identify appropriate mitigation measures to eliminate/ minimize such adverse impacts. The Ministry of coal may provide authenticated data on year-wise quantity of coal likely to be extracted from the Pench –Kanhan coalfield along with the destination, likely route and mode of its transportation; and
(viii) On finalization of the boundary of the viable corridor, the proposals, if any, received by the Ministry of Environment & Forests to obtain its approval for diversion of forest land for the coal block located outside the viable corridor may be placed before the FAC for its examination and appropriate recommendation. The FAC after examination of the proposals may consider to recommend diversion of forest land for these blocks, if otherwise found eligible for diversion, subject to the condition that the User Agency shall contribute on proportionate basis, the amount required for implementation of the plans to be prepared by the NTCA for rejuvenation and restocking of the viable corridor and the mitigative measures to eliminate/minimize the adverse impacts of the transportation of the coal to be extracted from the Pench-Kanhan coalfield on the viable corridor.
7. Accordingly, this Ministry vide its letter dated 24.01.2011 requested the all concerned to take action as appropriate to enable the Member-Secretary, NTCA to submit to this Ministry a map indicating boundary of the viable corridor between Pench and Satpura Tiger Reserves, and a detailed plan for restoration and rejuvenation of the said corridor.
The Wildlife Institute of
9. The NTCA convened a meeting on 23.03.2010 to discuss the said report and formulate strategy for preparation of plan for rejuvenation and restoration of the said corridor. The Chief Wildlife Warden (CWLW), Govt. of Madhya Pradesh, representative of the Coal India, Ministry of Coal and this Ministry attended the said meeting.
10. The following points emerged during the said meeting:
(i) The report of the Wildlife Institute of India should be sent to FC Division, CIL and CWLW, Madhya Pradesh;
(ii) Preparation of corridor restoration and rejuvenation plan may be outsourced from agency like WWF-India, who are already working on corridors. The WII has expressed its inability to prepare the said plan;
(iii) The timeline for preparation of the said plan should be preferably 3 months;
(iv) Mines located/ falling outside the corridor may be considered by the FAC, duly examining the proximity to corridor and other factors.
11. The said report received from the WII, Dehradun was placed before the Forest Advisory Committee in its meeting convened on May 5th, 6th, 2011.
12. The FAC after examination of the report in its meeting convened on May 5th and 6th, 2011 recommended that the representatives of the NTCA and the concerned researcher from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun may be requested to make presentation before the next meeting of the FAC, on the criteria adopted by then in identification of the boundary of the viable migratory corridor between Pench and Satpura Tiger Reserves and action taken so far on preparation of a plan for restoration and rejuvenation of the said corridor.
13. The report was therefore gain placed before the Forest Advisory Committee in its meeting convened on May 30th, 31st for its examination and appropriate recommendations.
14. After careful examination of the report prepared by the WII, Dehradun and interaction with representatives of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and the Wildlife institute of India, Dehradun who made detailed presentation during the meeting the FAC noted as below:
(i) As per the boundary of the viable wildlife corridor between Pench and Satpura tiger reserves identified by the WII, Dehradun out of the total 68 coal blocks located in the Pench-Kanhan coal field, ten coal blocks bearing the number 55 (Rakhikol), 58 (Nandan-II), 59 (Bansi), 60 (Dahu North), 61 (Rakhinala), 62 (Dahu Extn.), 63 (Koyalwari), 64 (Tandsi South), 65 (Tandsi North), 66 (Tambia), 67 (Tandsi-III) and 68 (Dhanwa) are located within the migratory corridor between Pench and Satpura Tiger Reserves.
(ii) The minimum width of the corridor identified by the WII, Dehradun is approx. 3 km.
(iii) As desired by the FAC in its previous meeting convened on 16.12.2010, the NTCA has already assigned the work to the WWF-India for preparation of a detailed plan containing appropriate measures for rejuvenation and restocking of the said migratory corridor and the mitigative measures to eliminate/minimize the adverse impacts of the transportation of the coal to be extracted from the Pench-Kanhan coalfield on the said migratory. The plan is likely to be received by the Ministry within a period of 2 months.
15. The FAC after detailed deliberations recommended as below:
(i) The boundary of the tiger and wildlife movement corridor as identified by the NTCA and WII may be accepted by the Ministry.
(ii) No approval under the
(iii) In case mining is already being
undertaken in any of the said ten coal blocks located within the migratory
corridor, no approval under the
(iv) The proposals seeking approval under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 or the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 for undertaking mining in any of the 58 coal blocks of the Pench-Kanhan coal field located outside the migratory corridor may be processed by the Ministry on their merits and, if approved, their approval may be subject to the additional condition that the user agency shall contribute on proportionate basis the amount required for implementation of the plans to be prepared by the NTCA for rejuvenation and restocking of the viable corridor and the mitigative measures to eliminate/minimize the adverse impacts of the transportation of the coal to be extracted from the Pench-Kanhan coalfield on the viable corridor.
(v) For the purpose of apportioning the cost to be recovered from the user agency for rejuvenation and restocking of the migratory corridor and to implement the mitigative measures to eliminate/minimize the adverse impacts of the transportation of the coal on the said migratory corridor, in case of open cast mining the entire area of lease may be taken into account. In case of underground mining project, half of the area of the mining lease may be taken into account to calculate the amount to be recovered from the user agency.
16. Hon’ble Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Environment & Forests accepted the said recommendations of the FAC.
TOPOSHEET PLAN OF PENCH-KANHAN COALFIELDS SHOWING DISTANCE FROM PENCH AND SATPUA TIGER RESERVES
MAP OF PENCH-KANHAN COALFIELDS WITH 68 COAL BLCKS
COAL MINES /
BLOCKS IN PENCH KANHAN COALFIELDS
COAL MINES / BLOCKS IN PENCH KANHAN COALFIELDS
MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT & FORESTS
to open up
1. On June 22nd, 2011, I received the final recommendation of the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) to reject the proposals made by the Chattisgarh Government to open up Tara, Parsa East and Kante Basan Col-blocks in the Hasdeo-Arand forest region of the State. The FAC has been deliberating on these proposals for almost eighteen months and has considered them from time to time. On three earlier occasions – January 21st 2010, July 30th, 2010, and October 22nd, 2010 – I had concurred with the FAC’s recommendation and rejected the proposals. However, I now disagree with the final recommendations of the FAC for six reasons and have decided to give Stage-I approval for these proposals.
2. The first reason for my rejection of the FAC recommendation arises from my understanding that these three coal-blocks are clearly in the fringe and actually not in the bid-diversity-rich Hasdeo-Arand orest region [a No-Go area}. They are separated by a well-defined high hilly ridge with drainage into Aten river which flows towards Hariapur in the opposite direction. It appears to be a totally different watershed. As long as the mining is restricted to the fringe area and as long as the State government does not com up with fresh applications for opening up the main Hasdeo-Arand area, I am of the opinion that permission can be accorded for Tara, Parsa East and Kante Basan.
3. The second reason for my rejection of the FAC recommendation arises from the substantial changes that have been introduced in the mining plans as originally envisaged. When the project proponent is prepared to demonstrate some flexibility to accommodate our concerns, I think we should also reciprocate.
i. Four significant changes have been incorporated in the Tara coal-block proposal to deal with our concerns – (i) medium- density forest area has been reduced from about 2000 hectares to 778 hectares; (ii) total trees to be felled have been reduced from about 8.5 lakhs to about 1.2 lakh; (iii) the operation period of the mine shall be reduced from 45 years to 25 years; (iv) all movement of coal from the mine to the power plant situated 7km away will be though overhead conveyor systems only.
ii. As far as Parsa East and Kante Basan are concerned where the forest quality is poorer than Tara by the FAC’s own assessment, the revised proposal envisages two phases – a 15 year phase I covering 762 hectares and a subsequent 15-year phase-II covering around 1136 hectares. Reclamation of the mined out area is to start from the 3rd year onwards thus making it possible to link renewal for phase-II to performance on reforestation and biodiversity management in phase-I which is part of the conditions governing my approval. Actually, I find the mining plan for Parsa East and Kante Basan is one and therefore they should not be treated as separate blocks – the allocation to Rajasthan Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited (RVNUL) treats both as one block.
4. The third reason for my rejecting the FAC recommendation arises from the fact that the concerns identified relating to wildlife can, in my view, and should be taken care of through a well-prepared and well-executed wildlife management plan and programme under the aegis of an institution like the Wildlife Institute of India. Other independent institutions with expertise on elephant-related issues especially, like the Nature Conservation Foundation, Wildlife Trust of India, and the Centre of Ecological Science at the India Institute of Science could also be involved in the preparation and implementation of such a management plan with funds pooled from the project proponents (IFFCO and RVNUL). Such a plan should be prepared over the next four-six months and be monitored by the MoE&F.
5. The fourth reason for my rejecting the FAC recommendation arises from the fact that these coal-blocks are linked to supercritical thermal power generating stations. In fact, this is an explicit pre-condition for approval in order to remove any ambiguity on this score. Supercritical technology is absolutely essential for us in order to deal with global warming issues and concerns. With a 660/800 Mw supercritical technology, anywhere between 5-8% lower emissions of carbon dioxide will accrue over a conventional sub-critical 500 Mw power plant that we have so far been putting up. Supercritical (and ultra supercritical) technology has to proliferate rapidly if we are to meet our growing energy needs in an environmentally-acceptable manner.
6. The fifth reason for my rejecting the FAC recommendation arises from the fact that both the state governments involved – Chattisgarh and Rajasthan (which will use the coal mined at Parsa East and Kante Basan) have been persistently following-up since their power generation plans are closely linked with these coal blocks. Chief Minister of Chattisgarh wrote to Prime Minister on July 8th, 2010 and February 9th, 2011. He also wrote to me on June 4th 2010 and on February 9th, 2011. Copies of these communications are in Annexure-I. Chief Minister of Rajasthan wrote to Prime Minister on Feb. 12th 2011 and the Minister for Energy, Government of Rajasthan wrote to me on June 15th, 2011, May 24th 2011, April 7th, 2011March 1st, 2011 and February 21st, 2011. Copies of these communications are in Annexure-II.
7. The sixth reason for my rejecting the FAC recommendation arises from the imperative to sustain the momentum generated in the XIth Plan in terms of capacity addition (52,000 Mw or thereabouts as compared to around 21,000 Mw in the Xth Plan)1. The FAC’s brief is to look at forest-related issues exclusively but while the FAC has to do its due diligence with single-minded focus, as the Minister I have necessarily to keep the broader developmental picture in mind and balance out different objectives and considerations.
1 Of this, roughly 42,000 MW is expected to be coal-based capacity in the XIth Plan
period, as compared to about 15,000 MW in the XIth Plan period.
taking all factors into account, I am of
the view that permission should be granted to opening the
the Parsa block of the Chattisgarh State Electricity Board is in between
10. Needless to add, final Stage-II approval will be contingent on he State Government demonstrating full compliance with the provision of the Forest Rights Act, 2006.
MOS (I/C) E&F
June 23rd, 2011