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Going green: South Eastern Coalfields to invest Rs 169 crore for tree plantation in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh

South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL), the Chhattisgarh-based subsidiary of mining major Coal India Limited, has decided to invest a whopping Rs. 169 crores for tree plantation Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, the states in which it operates. The plantation will be carried out for a period of five years from FY 2023-24 to 2027-28 with its subsequent maintenance of 4 years for each consecutive year of plantation.
For execution of the project, the company has signed Memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Chhattisgarh Rajya Van Vikas Nigam (CGRVVN) and Madhya Pradesh Rajya Van Vikas Nigam (MPRVVN). As per the MoU, SECL will spend Rs. 131.52 crore in Chhattisgarh and Rs. 38.11 crore in Madhya Pradesh for enhancing greenery in the central Indian states.

Trees to be planted

Six to twelve months old (polypot) plants will be used for the plantation work. Among the saplings that will be planted are different species including fruit bearing trees like Jamun, Imli, Bel, Mango, Sitaphal etc., and medicinal/ herbal plants like Neem, Amla, Karanj etc.
In addition to these, trees with high timber value such as Teak, Sal, Bamboo, Babool, Sissoo, Safed Sirus and Ornamental / Avenue plants like Gulmohar, Kachnar, Amaltas, Peepal, Jharul etc. will also be planted. Keeping in view the needs of the local communities, species of plants will be selected while paying heed to suggestions from local villagers.

Which land will be used

SECL in collaboration with Chhattisgarh Rajya Van Vikas Nigam and Madhya Pradesh Rajya Van Vikas Nigam will be planting more than 26 lakh saplings in Chhattisgarh while Madhya Pradesh will get almost 12 lakh saplings.
Plantation work will be carried out on land which has been either acquired or leased or purchased by SECL or transferred land of any type like tenancy. Also saplings will be planted in government, revenue and forest land.
This is the third such MoU signed by South Eastern Coalfields Ltd. Through the previous two MoUs, the company has planted more than 46 lakh saplings in Chhattisgarh and more than 16 lakh plants in MP between 2013-14 and 2022-23 as per a statement.

Enhancing biodiversity

In an attempt to boost the green cover and conserve and enhance biodiversity, the coal producing company has been undertaking extensive plantation in and around its mining areas. In the financial year 2022-23, the company planted more than 8 lakh saplings in an area of 365 hectares. Satellite imagery has shown considerable improvement in green cover in areas where SECL has conducted plantation work.

SECL’s Sustainable Development Initiatives

The company is also taking various sustainable development initiatives where eco-parks, oxygen parks and mine tourism sites have been developed on old or abandoned mining sites.
South Eastern Coalfields Limited recently announced that they will develop the now closed opencast Manikpur Pokhari mine in Chhattisgarh’s Korba district into an eco-tourism destination. This will be the second such initiative taken by SECL in the state. Before this, a closed mine at Kenapara in Surajpur district was converted into an eco-tourism site by the company.
SECL is also developing solar power projects for promoting the use of renewable energy. As part of the company’s strategy to expand business and achieve net zero energy goal, the Miniratna PSU announced earlier this month that they would be developing rooftop and ground mounted solar power projects of 600 MW capacity. For this, SECL has announced that they are ready to invest over Rs.1000 crores.