The world’s largest miner Coal India ltd (CIL) has been caught on the wrong footing with its various subsidiaries and arms violating green norms with impunity. For instance, its arms CCL, BCCL and SECL continued to use ground water for their mining operations without obtaining no objection certificate from Central Ground Water Authority (CGWA).
The subsidiaries did not install sewage treatment plant at the residential colonies of the collieries, thereby contaminating the ground water.
The pollutants exceeded the limits prescribed by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in eight mines across three subsidiaries of CIL, according to a CAG report on ‘Assessment of Environment Impact due to Mining Activities and its Mitigation in Coal India Ltd and its Subsidiaries’ tabled in Parliament on Wednesday.
“The CIL amended its original Corporate Environment Policy (CEP) and formulated a comprehensive Environment Policy only in March, 2012, followed by a revised policy in December 2018.
“However, six out seven coal producing subsidiaries of CIL did not formulate a policy as mandated by the Union Environment Ministry which stipulated that a well laid
down environment policy duly approved by the Board of Directors of the subsidiaries needs to be in place,” the report said.
Further, guidelines containing the responsibility and delegation at different levels in environment discipline were formulated by CIL, but the same were not dovetailed in their operating manual by the subsidiaries, according to the CAG report.
CAG further said the pollutants exceeded the limits prescribed by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in eight mines across three subsidiaries of CIL.
“Further during 2013-18, 62 lakh kilo-litre (KL) of untreated water was discharged to nearby water bodies by Lakhanpur and Basundhara (W) mines of MCL thereby contaminating ground water,” it said.
“Due to absence of mechanical brooming/industrial cleaner in Piparwar OCM of CCL, the spillage from overloaded truck/dumpers accumulated along the sides of the bridge of Safi river, was not cleaned periodically,” it said.
These eventually drained into the river, thereby contaminating the water. Further, the rejects of Kathara washery of CCL were found to be contaminating the Damodar river.
The audit observed that there was no uniform strategy among subsidiaries for biological reclaimation of mined out area through plantation activities. “We observed that during 2013-18, no plantation was undertaken in three mines and the green cover in Rajmahal constituted less than one-third of mine area,” said the CAG which has recommended an environment policy to be implemented at the earliest by the companies in the coal sector as mandated by the Environment Ministry.