Union Home Minister Amit Shah launched the Tree Plantation Campaign “Vriksharopan Abhiyan” of the Ministry of Coal in the presence of Union Minister of Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs, Pralhad Joshi here today. During the launch event at his residence, the Union Home Minister inaugurated and laid the Foundation stone of 6 Ecoparks/ Tourism sites. The tree plantation campaign was conducted at more than 130 locations spread in 38 Districts of 10 coal/lignite bearing States through Video Conferencing. Amit Shah said, “I congratulate the Coal Ministry for planting trees at more than 130 locations spread in 38 Districts of 10 States.”
Anil Kumar Jain, Secretary, Ministry of Coal, B P Pati, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Coal and other senior officials were also present. About 32000 people were connected in the virtual event from 160 locations. More than 300 dignitaries from states including MPs, MLAs and State Government officials joined the event virtually.
Speaking on the occasion, the Union Home Minister said climate change has impacted the world and only greenery is the solution to this crisis. He said our culture has emphasised that one must not exploit Nature but instead must support Nature.
“The focal mantra of Indian heritage has been that we should harness natural resources and not exploit them. We ignored this principle at our own peril, leading to depletion of Ozone layer and forming Ozone Hole, which in turn resulted in global warming and climate change. There is only one solution to this problem and one that has been mentioned in the Puranas by sages that trees are friends of mankind and only greenery can get us out of this crisis. Trees give us the life-saving Oxygen, help reduce Carbon footprint and preserve the Ozone layer,” said Amit Shah.
The Union Home Minister said the Coal sector today is not only ready to fulfill the growing demand for coal but is equally sensitive towards environmental stability. He said, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Government is promoting Reclamation and Afforestation in the various Coalbed regions. Amit Shah said the PM has set up the District Mineral Fund with a corpus of Rs.39,000 crore for the development of the mining areas and 35,000 minor projects have been completed. He said the Coal sector is an important pillar of India’s economy and will continue to retain its significance in the times to come.
Amit Shah said several initiatives have been undertaken by the Ministry of Coal towards ‘Ease of doing Business’ and Aatmanirbhar Bharat under the leadership of the Prime Minister. In pursuit of PM’s Aatmanirbhar campaign, India is moving towards reducing coal imports to zero. The Government has set an ambitious target of one billion tonnes (annual) production of coal by 2023-24.
“Coal PSUs and captive miners have also launched steps to enhance production, while an investment of Rs.1,25,000 crore is envisaged under the Infrastructure Investment Scheme during the period 2020-24 for which 534 projects have been identified,” he said.
Amit Shah said the plantation campaign launched today assumes significance as the event coincides with the anniversaries of Lokmanya Balgangadhar Tilak and Chandrashekhar Azad who devoted their life to the service of the nation.
“The mantra given by Lokmanya Tilak for Independence, – “Freedom is my birthright”, inspires the youth even today. He is the spirit behind the Indian renaissance. Azad was India’s son who never bowed and his sacrifice inspired several youth to the cause of India’s freedom,” he said. Amit Shah asked the Coal Ministry to name the Ecoparks and Tourism Sites in memory of Lokmanya Tilak and Chadrasekhar Azad.
Speaking on the occasion, Union Minister for Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi said that with an aim to conserve and preserve environment, 6 lakh seedlings are being planted across 600 acres in 38 districts of 10 States today. Additional 5 lakh seedlings will be distributed to the local people on the occasion. The total cost involved in the 5 Eco-Parks and 1 Sal Plantation project is Rs. 27.60 crores.
All India raw coal production has increased from 565 MT in 2013-14 to 729 MT in 2019-20 registering an absolute increase of 163 MT as compared to an increase of 73 MT during the preceding five years, said Pralhad Joshi. He added that Coal India Limited has set an ambitious target for attaining 1 BT coal production in 2023-24, which will be key in reducing the demand-supply gap. SCCL, NLCIL and other captive players are also poised to grow and contribute in enhanced domestic coal supply.
Pralhad Joshi said that Commercial coal mining is going to be an important step towards Aatma Nirbhar Bharat, which aims to make India self-reliant and globally competitive as well. He added that opening up the coal sector will bring global players with latest technology and investment and integrate India more closely with global players.
Speaking about the environment conservation by coal sector, Joshi shared that till Financial year 2019-20, coal and lignite PSUs have planted around 157 Million plants restoring total area of about 25000 Hectares. The coal and lignite PSUs have planned to spend Rs. 50 crores on creation of new Eco-Parks, expansion of existing eco-parks and other tourism sites at 15 locations across the country by financial year 2023-24.
Coal Secretary Anil Kumar Jain said that the eco-parks and tourism sites are being developed by PSUs under Coal Ministry keeping in mind the requirements and well-being of people of those areas. Taking forward the commitment to conserve and preserve environment, Coal and Lignite PSUs Coal India Limited (CIL), Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL) and NLC India Ltd under the aegis of Ministry of Coal (MoC) started the massive plantation drive under Vriksharopan Abhiyan. The coal and lignite PSUs have planned to plant 40 lakh saplings over 1,789 Hectares of land at a cost of Rs. 70 crores in the current fiscal. These companies will further distribute 20 lakh additional seedlings during this fiscal.