The environment ministry’s forest advisory committee (FAC) has recommended stage-I clearance for extension of the Durgapur open cast mine run by Western Coalfields, that has a capacity of 2MT per annum. The mine will supply coal to the Chandrapur Super Thermal Power Station, run by Maharashtra State Power Generation Company.
According to the REC member, the coal mine stands to threaten an important tiger corridor that connects Tadoba’s tiger population southwards to Indravati Tiger Reserve, Chattisgarh. He also added that the information on the corridor was not brought to the notice of the FAC. “The coal mine will potentially disturb the tiger corridor and also the wildlife that moves around the project site. The mine is also located close to Tadoba tiger reserve’s buffer zone and the blasting work will lead to noise population,” said Suresh Chopane, member of the REC.
Chopane added, “The areas around the mine also witnesses human-animal conflict mostly involving leopards.Cutting down the forests may lead to an escalation in incidences of human-animal conflict.” The REC member told dna that since the coal mine is located close to a wildlife corridor, it may also need a wildlife clearance, as per the Wildlife Protection Act. “It seems that crucial information has not been highlighted before the FAC and the National Tiger Conservation Authority and the state forest department needs to be informed about it,” Chompane added.
The Tadoba-Andhari tiger reserve (TATR) is the biggest in Maharashtra and its core and buffer areas are home to nearly 56 tigers, according to a study carried out by Wildlife Conservation Trust while the entire Chandrapur region, including TATR, is home to 108 tigers. The region’s environment is already under stress as it is home to several coal mines that are have been a cause of forest diversion and air pollution.