Coal India Limited (CIL) had planned to enhance its production capacity in Kusmunda opencast mine in Chhattisgarh allegedly without getting the required Environment Clearances (EC). Kusmumda coal mine is operated by the South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL)—country’s largest coal producing company and the flagship entity of the Coal India Limited. The mine is located in Korba district of Chhattisgarh and has been producing 18.75 million tonnes of coal per annum. The SECL issued floated a tender SECL/BSP/CMC/etender/36 dated September 16, 2015 inviting proposal from the company to extract 22 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) coal from the Kusmunda project. The company had received EC to increase the production from 15 MTPA to 18 MTPA in February 2014. No clearance had been reportedly given to the company for the further expansion. “The plan to increase the capacity to 22 MTPA for which the company had called tender is a clear violation of EC norms and we have written a letter to the CIL Chairman demanding that the tender should be cancelled,” Laxmi Chouhan, an environment activist in Korba, said.
They would challenge the issue in the court of law if the CIL failed to take any decision on their objection, he added.The CIL spokesperson said they needed to check with the environment department and get back. Kusmunda project is identified as one of the projects in the Emergency Coal Production Plan (ECPP) of CIL with a targeted capacity of 50 MTPA by mining about 3,510 hectares of area. In favourable techno-economical circumstances, the project might produce 1.25 times of the normative capacity and might attain production level of 62.50 MTPA. In February 2015, people raised strong protest against the expansion plan in the public hearing that was mandatory under the environmental clearance process. But the public hearings are only consultative in nature under the Environment Protection Act, 1986 and do not hold a veto over the project.
|Total reserve||1,105.00 MT|
|Mineable reserves||956.98 MT|
|Extractable reserves||956.98 MT|
|Method of mining||Shovel-dumper & surface miner|
|Capital cost||Rs 7,612.33 cr|