Mining firm flouts green norms in Barmer, says govt report

A company mining lignite in Rajasthan’s Barmer district has not developed a green belt on the required area, which has disturbed ecological balance, a government probe report revealed

jaipur Updated: Dec 10, 2017 21:18 IST
Mukesh Mathrani
Mukesh Mathrani
Hindustan Times
Rajasthan,Mining firm,Green norms
Lack of green belt near Kapurdi and Jalipa lignite mines in Barmer spells ecological imbalance and health hazards. (HT Photo)

A company mining lignite in Rajasthan’s Barmer district has not developed a green belt on the required area, which has disturbed ecological balance, a government probe report revealed.

The Centre’s norms for environmental clearance mandate that a company has to develop a green belt in 25% area around a mine.

South West Mining Limited, a JSW Group company, which extracts lignite at Jalipa and Kapuradi mines, has created a green belt on only 5% of the area, the Barmer district administration probe report said.

The administration ordered the probe after local people complained that the company’s negligence towards environmental norms caused health hazards. The Barmer tehsildar conducted the probe.

South West Mining Limited is a mining contract firm of Barmer Lignite Mining Company Limited (BLMCL), a joint venture of the Rajasthan government and Raj WestPower Limited, a subsidiary of JSW Energy Limited.

Kapurdi and Jalipa lignite mines were allocated to Rajasthan State Mines and Minerals Limited (RSMML) but it transferred the mining lease to BLMCL, which in turn gave the mining contract to the South West Mining Limited. Lignite, often referred to as brown coal, is supplied to the Raj WestPower Limited, which operates 10 lignite-based power units in the area.

Reacting to the report, Lalit Pratap Singh, a senior manager with South West Mining Limited, claimed that they have developed green belt in Kapuradi mines area and work was ongoing on at Jalipa.

Refuting the company’s claim, Kapuradi village sarpanch Anita Rajpurohit said, “The company official is giving misleading facts; no green belt has been developed in Kapuradi and Bothiya villages.”

Before starting the work, the company and government promised to the locals that ecological balance will not be disturbed in the area, she said. “After mining started, the company forgot its commitment; their activities have led to environmental hazard and created health issues in the region.”

Social activist Ramsingh Bothiya said, “The company has developed a small greenbelt in the mines to mislead the authorities.” The company was required, as per conditions, to develop a green belt in 50-metre area near the overburden dump yard, he claimed.

“The company has not developed green belt in Bothiya village, which is the biggest populated area near the mines. Whenever locals raised the issue, company officials misled them by making false promises. We were also ignored by the authorities.”

Locals said the company dug up pits in the mining area to store water. The pits are left open and in absence of proper fencing, farm animals often fall into them and die, they said.

Another report has said that in the absence of proper dump management and green belts, waste water of the mines enter agriculture fields. The report said waste water has ruined crops of 46 farmers on 2227.15 bigha land.

“Farming is already at the mercy of monsoon vagaries in western Rajasthan; now the mining mismanagement has come as another calamity,” said a local.

First Published: Dec 10, 2017 21:18 IST