MoEF faults excess coal production by SCCL

Ministry directs company to get fresh EIA, environmental management plans

The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has faulted Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL) for producing higher quantity of coal than the approved capacity in eight of its existing mines without seeking the necessary environmental clearance.

A committee of experts of the Ministry that examined the proposals of the coal company to go for expansion of these open cast and underground mines has pointed out that together the coal production in excess of the approved quantity was over 26.2 million tonnes over the years — since they were given approval for the first time.

The violation of existing environmental clearances was identified in Medipalli open cast and Vakapalli underground mines in Peddapalli district, Jawahar Khani-5 open cast and Gautam Khani open cast mines in Bhadradri Kothagudem, Ravindra Khani-5 incline underground, Ravindra Khani-6 incline underground and Srirampur-3 & 3A and Srirampur incline underground mines in Mancherial and Kalyan Khani-5 incline underground mine in Adilabad district. The SCCL has applied for expansion of all these mines.

Terms of reference

Highlighting the violations in the mines, the expert committee has issued terms of reference for their expansion proposals with a direction to the mining company to submit fresh environmental impact assessment and environmental management plans. It is stated that violations of existing environmental clearance in case of Gautam Khani were high as the excess coal production there was over 16.5 million tonnes till 2017-18.

The committee has asked the company to take up assessment of ecological damage with respect to air, water, land and other environmental attributes, preparation of environmental management plan comprising remedial plan and natural and community resource augmentation plan corresponding to the ecological damage assessed and economic benefits derived due to violation.

Bank guarantee

Further, the experts committee told the coal company to submit a bank guarantee equivalent to the amount of remedial plan and natural and community resource augmentation plan with the State Pollution Control Board prior to the grant of fresh environmental clearance for expansion proposals.

The quantum would be recommended by the experts committee and finalised by the regulatory authority.

The bank guarantee would be released after successful implementation of the environmental management plan followed by recommendations of the experts committee and approval of the regulatory authority.

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