Expressing concern over the air quality, a Centre’s green panel has given clearance to South Eastern Coalfields Ltd (SECL)’s Rs 11,816 crore expansion project in Korba district, Chhattisgarh for a limited period.
SECL, one of the eight fully-owned subsidiaries of Coal India, wants to expand the mining capacity of its Gevra Opencast coal mine from 41 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) to 49 MTPA in a lease area of 4,184 hectare.
In the latest meeting, an Expert Advisory Committee (EAC) set up by the environment ministry, examined SECL’s proposal and recommended the government to give environment clearance till March 2019, which means SECL can work on the project till the said period.
“The EAC expressed deep concern over the base line air quality in the area, especially the higher PM10 values, which are bound to increase with the proposed expansion of the project,” as per the minutes of the November 27 meeting.
The Committee further observed that with the different control measures presently in place, the air quality would not be meeting the prescribed standards. Instead, it is only after the proposed mitigative measures, the air quality is reported to be within the norms, it said.
“Considering the same, the Committee preferred to allow the proposed expansion for a limited period only….The EAC, after deliberations, recommended the project for grant of environment clearance subject to compliance of certain conditions,” the minutes said.
Among conditions specified, the EAC said the continuance of the project at the increased capacity, will be based on evaluation of the proposed control measures and its impact on the ambient air quality in later half of 2018-19 fiscal.
In the proposal, SECL informed that it has obtained first stage forest clearance for the entire forest land of 1,016 hectare involved in the mining lease area of 4,184.48 ha.
The mining expansion project for 49 MTPA, which is estimated to be Rs 11,816.40 crore, was approved by SECL Board in October 2017. The company has coal linkage with NTPC and various thermal power plants.
Bilaspur-headquartered SECL is operating 89 mines spread over Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. Read More