Stakeholder Consultation Workshop on a Draft Sustainable Coal Mining Bill Workshop Report of SERB – NIAS Virtual Workshop, September 5, 2020 (NIAS/NSE/EEP/U/WR/19/2020)
Source:NIAS, Bengaluru (2020)
Keywords:Environmental Protection, Forest clearance, mine closure, Mining plan, Pollution control
Coal is one of the most significant growth drivers for the Indian economy. India is endowed with 13 percent of the World’s total proven coal reserves which can be extracted profitably with currently available technology under the prevailing market conditions. However, coal mining is associated with significant environmental challenges, viz, disturbance of land surface, air pollution, noise pollution, water pollution, reduction in the water table, deforestation, and loss in agricultural productivity. While one of the major challenges in increasing the production of coal in India is the delay in grant of approvals from various Authorities, there is a need for a new regulatory framework to improve the environmental governance of the coal sector, particularly before commercial coal mining takes off on the ground. The Energy & Environment Program at NIAS is developing a new regulatory framework for coal mining as part of ongoing PhD research supported by the Science and Engineering Research Board. The core component of this regulatory framework consists of a “Sustainable Coal Mining Bill” to constitute a unified authority named the “Coal Mines Environment Authority” staffed with multi-disciplinary expertise to minimize the adverse environmental impacts of coal mining projects with an integrated, multi-disciplinary approach. The proposed bill is based on the Federal structure of India and does not infringe on the land rights of local communities or the existing provisions for wildlife conservation, biodiversity protection, and occupational health & safety, under extant Laws. The draft “Sustainable Coal Mining Bill” and the “Environment, Forest, and Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill” crafted by NIAS were discussed during a virtual stakeholder consultation workshop on September 5, 2020. This report includes the key recommendations received during the Workshop as well as the updated and improved drafts of the two bills in the form of a consultation paper.