The Ministry of Coal has decided to establish a Sustainable Development Cell (SDC) in order to promote environmentally sustainable coal mining in the country and address environmental concerns during the decommissioning or closure of mines.
This move gains significance as the new private entities are now going to form a significant part of the future, a set of guidelines for proper rehabilitation of mines need to be evolved in tune with global best practices.
According to the Coal Ministry, the SDC will advise, mentor, plan and monitor the mitigation measures taken by the coal companies for maximising the utilisation of available resources in a sustainable way, minimising the adverse impact of mining and mitigating it for further ecosystem services and will act as nodal point at Ministry of Coal level in this matter.
The Ministry said the SDC will adopt a systemic approach, starting from collection of data, analysis of data, presentation of information, planning based on information; by domain experts, adoption of best practices, consultations, innovative thinking, site-specific approaches, knowledge sharing and dissemination and finally end with an aim to ease the lives of people and communities in general.
The SDC will focus on land amelioration and afforestation, air quality, emission and noise management, mine water management, sustainable overburden management, sustainable mine tourism, planning and monitoring. It will also monitor the effective utilisation of the Mine Closure Fund and environment budgets of different coal companies.