Scientific mining in state not an easy task: Panel chief on environment

Shillong, Feb 14: Scientific mining in the state will take time as safety of the environment will have to be examined before the initiative.


Though the miners are preparing to start  scientific mining of coal in the form of ‘progressive open cast mining’, issues related to protection of river and environment cannot be ignored, according to an official related to

Four coal mining project proponents from the state received the approval of the Ministry of Coal recently.

They are Nehlang Lyngdoh (Rymbai Synrang Shahkhain Village), East Jaintia Hills District, Maksing Sibren (Nongbri Nongkulang Village) Ranikor C&RD Block, South West Khasi Hills District, Thomas Nongtdu (Byndihati Village) East Jaintia Hills District, Wenni Diengngan (Sdaddkhar village), West Khasi Hills District.

Chairman of the State Expert Appraisal Committee on Environment (SEACE)  constituted by the union ministry of environment, forest and climate change, Naba Bhattacharjee on Wednesday told reporters that the next step for the project proponents is to apply for environmental clearance, which is mandatory under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) notification of 2006.

All states in the country have the State Expert Appraisal Committee on Environment and State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA).

Bhattacharjee said the SEACE will soon recommend the terms of reference (ToR) to all the four project proponents for the preparation of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) and Environment Management Plan (EMP).

Project proponents, through the empanelled consultants, who are tasked to do coal projects, will prepare the reports.

“We will be issuing the ToR very soon, may be by the end of this month for the preparation of the EIA and EMP,” Bhattacharjee said.

A major component of the EIA and EMP is the conduct of the public hearing for the project, which will be notified by the pollution control board.

“Once the EIA and EMP is ready, a gist of the EIA and EMP in the local language also will have to be circulated and published and the pollution control board will ask the DCs of the different districts to conduct the public hearings in presence of the officials of the pollution control board, which will form a part of that EIA & EMP report. Once that is ready, they will again have to upload it on the parivesh website and give a presentation to SEACE. If there are any conditions to be fulfilled which we have put in ToR or if there are any changes to be made, we will make field visits, we will study the condition on what are the impacts on the environment and what are the mitigation factors. Particularly in our state, we have seen that mining has an effect on water which is very important,” he said.

Bhattacharjee said the progressive open cast mining has been approved as per the mining plans of the four project proponents.

“We have made a preliminary visit to these areas and what we could understand is that it would be open cast but a progressive mining in the sense if it is one kilometre long mining they will first take up say about three hundred metres and the depth in that 300 metres may vary from 65 metres to 100 metres. There will be sub blocks within the block. They will extract the coal and whatever the overburden is coming – the main concern for the environment is overburden. If you do open cast, a huge volume of overburden will be there because of the seam being available very low and the seams are not very wide in our state. They will extract that portion and then cover it up with the overburden which has been generated and then move to the next block,” he said.

According to Bhattacharjee, the entire process should take about four months to complete.

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