Environment watchdog Greenpeace sought an immediate moratorium on new coal projects in the country citing evidences that the mining threatened forests and wildlife.
“From 2007 to 2011, the coal mine lease area and coal production capacity have nearly doubled compared to pre-2007 levels” said Greenpeace campaigner Ashish Fernandes.
Greenpeace’s report titled, ‘How Coal Mining is Trashing Tigerland’, said how coal mining threatened over 1.1 million hectares of forest in 13 coalfields in central India.
Fernandes said virtually all new coal mines and a proportion of the planned power plants were located in central India covering Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and parts of Odisha and eastern Maharashtra.
These places were also home to 35 percent of the country's tiger population, he said.
A look at landscapes where coal mining was well established such as Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh or Chandrapur in Maharashtra demonstrated the industry’s devastating impact on forests, he said.
The Greepeace report overlaid maps of the 13 coalfields with forest cover, protected area boundaries and the latest government data on tiger, elephant and leopard presence.
Almost all the coalfields overlap with endangered species habitat -- of the 1.1 million hectares of forest at risk, over 185,000 hectares are inhabited by tigers, over 270,000 hectares by leopards and over 55,000 hectare by elephants, the report said.
Read the report
Stories you might like