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Coal/Lignite PSUs Showcase Commitment to Sustainable Development Through Extensive Plantation Initiatives

New Delhi: Coal and Lignite Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) operating under the guidance of the Ministry of Coal have not only ramped up their production to meet the nation’s energy demands but have also made substantial strides in environmental conservation through a series of mitigation and sustainable measures.

As part of a sustainable greening initiative, Coal/Lignite PSUs have undertaken extensive plantation programs, focusing on native species across various sites such as overburden dumps, haul roads, mine peripheries, residential colonies, and available land outside the lease area. These efforts, backed by collaborations with scientific institutions, emphasize eco-restoration and the implementation of multi-tiered plantation schemes.

The diverse plantation approach includes shade-giving trees, forestry species, medicinal and herbal plants, fruit-bearing trees, timber value trees, and ornamental/avenue plants. Fruit-bearing and medicinal plants contribute not only to biodiversity conservation but also offer additional socio-economic benefits to local communities.

Over the past five years (FY 2019-20 to FY 2023-24 until January), Coal/Lignite PSUs have planted over 235 lakh saplings, covering an area exceeding 10,784 hectares, significantly enhancing the carbon sink. Satellite surveillance is employed to monitor reclamation performance.

Recent adoption of the Miyawaki plantation method by Coal/Lignite PSUs showcases their commitment to innovative and sustainable practices. The Miyawaki technique, pioneered by Japanese botanist Dr. Akira Miyawaki, aims to establish a dense forest in just a decade, a process that typically takes a century. The method involves planting two to four varieties of indigenous trees per square meter, promoting rapid growth and replicating native biodiversity.

MCL (Mahanadi Coalfields Limited) has embraced the Miyawaki method in Kulda OCP at Subalaya village in the Sundergarh range. DFO Sundergarh is leading this technique in two patches, covering 10 hectares at a density of 8000 saplings per hectare. The selected plant species, including Arjun, Asan, Phasi, Sal, Bija, Karanj, Dhauda, Gamhar, Mahogany, Ashok, Patali, Chhatian, Dhuranj, Harra, Bahera, Amla, Guava, Mango, Jackfruit, are largely self-sustaining, minimizing the need for regular maintenance.

These plantation initiatives not only mitigate the ecological impact of mining activities but also contribute to biodiversity restoration, ecosystem service enhancement, carbon sink creation, livelihood opportunities for local communities, and the promotion of sustainable development. By integrating scientific expertise, community engagement, and innovative methods like Miyawaki plantation, Coal/Lignite PSUs are leaving behind a legacy of green, resilient landscapes for future generations.

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