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Coal and Lignite PSUs Lead Environmental Efforts with Landmark Greening Initiatives Report

New Delhi: Under the guidance of the Ministry of Coal, public sector undertakings (PSUs) in the coal and lignite sectors have significantly ramped up their production to meet India’s growing energy demands. Simultaneously, these PSUs have been actively engaged in environmental preservation through extensive reclamation and afforestation projects in mined-out areas.

In conjunction with the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which emphasizes land restoration and drought resilience under the slogan “Our Land. Our Future. We are #GenerationRestoration,” the Ministry of Coal has released a pivotal report titled “Greening Initiative in Coal & Lignite PSUs.” The report details the efforts of coal and lignite PSUs to restore and rejuvenate mined-out lands, transforming barren landscapes into thriving green areas. These initiatives play a critical role in combating desertification, enhancing drought resilience, contributing to carbon sequestration, and conserving biodiversity.

The Secretary of the Ministry of Coal, Amrit Lal Meena, praised the contributions of CMPDI and the Sustainability & Just Transition Division of the Ministry of Coal in compiling the report. He expressed optimism that the report would draw significant attention and inspire the adoption of innovative greening techniques, such as seed ball plantation, seed casting via drones, and Miyawaki plantation, within coal mines by other entities.

The report showcases consistent and earnest reclamation and afforestation efforts by Coal/Lignite PSUs. It includes data validated through remote sensing studies and on-site ground-truthing surveys, making it a comprehensive documentation of baseline data regarding greening efforts. The report highlights specific reclamation efforts in both closed and active coal mines and outlines future plantation initiatives planned until the fiscal year 2029-2030.

Key highlights from the report include:

  • Green Cover Establishment: Coal/Lignite PSUs have established approximately 50,000 hectares of green cover in and around coal mining regions. This includes the biological reclamation of 29,592 hectares of de-coaled land, 12,673 hectares of avenue plantation within mine leaseholds, and 7,735 hectares of plantation outside mine leaseholds.
  • Carbon Sink Potential: The collective greening efforts are estimated to create a carbon sink potential of approximately 2.5 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year.
  • Community-Oriented Land Uses: PSUs are also pioneering community-oriented land uses such as restored forests, eco-parks, and eco-tourism sites.

The report underscores the vital role that coal sector greening efforts can play in achieving sustainable land management and fulfilling India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) target of achieving a carbon sink of 2.5 to 3.0 billion tonnes by 2030.

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