Coal India Limited (CIL) is converting its abandoned mines into eco-parks which are becoming popular tourist destinations. Thirty such eco-parks are already attracting steady footfalls and plans are afoot for the creation of more eco parks and eco-restoration sites in CIL’s mining areas, according to information provided by the Coal Ministry.
These eco-parks and tourism sites are also proving to be a source of livelihood for the local people.
Some of the popular destinations that provide a further fillip to coal mine tourism include Gunjanpark, ECL, Gokul eco-cultural park, BCCL, Kenapara eco-tourism site and AnanyaVatika, SECL, Krishnashila eco restoration site and Mudwani eco-parks, NCL, Ananta medicinal garden, MCL, BalGangadhar Tilak eco park, WCL and Chandra Sekhar Azad eco park, CCL.
“No one could have predicted that an abandoned mined-out land could be transformed into a buzzing tourism destination. We are enjoying boating, the beautiful waterbody with the adjoining greenery and having lunch on a floating restaurant,” said a visitor at Kenapara eco-tourism site developed by SECL in Surajpur district, Chhattisgarh. “Kenapara has promising tourism potential and is also a good source of income for the tribal people,” the visitor added.
Similarly, the Mudwani eco-parks recently developed by NCL in Jayantarea of Singrauli, Madhya Pradesh has a landscaped water front and pathways. “In a remote place like Singrauli, where there isn’t much to see, the Mudwani eco-park is seeing a surge in visitors due to its beautiful landscape and other recreational facilities,” an official said.
CIL has also surpassed its annual target of planting trees in 1510 hectares by expanding its green cover to 1610 hectares. The company has planted over 30 lakh saplings in the current financial year. In the last five years till financial year 2021-22, 4392 hectares of greening inside the mine lease area has created a carbon sink potential of 2.2 LT/year, according to the official statement.
CIL is also using new techniques like seed ball plantation, seed casting through drones and Miyawaki plantation in its various mines. Mined out areas, overburden dumps etc are concurrently reclaimed as soon as they get delinked from the active mining zones. Various species for biological reclamation are selected in consultation with central and state-aided expert agencies. Monitoring of land reclamation and restoration is being done through remote sensing and as of now around 33% area is under green cover.