Closed Mines Suited For Cultivation: Fimi

New Delhi, July 28 | Updated: Jul 29 2004, 06:12am hrs
A status report on non-coal mines has suggested that abandoned mines can be put to good use. They can, for instance, be utilised for storing oil and water, for floriculture, herbiculture and also for mushroom cultivation.

Sponsored by the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (Fimi), the report says that the initiative will help in rehabilitation of miners and provide employment opportunities to local populace.

Prepared by a group of experts headed by former chairman of Coal India and Neyveli Lignite Corporation Padmabhushan GL Tandon, the report states that mineral resource development operations should be carefully planned so that mining and environment protection could go hand in hand.

Total area under mining leases for major minerals other than coal mining is 9,000 sq km. The actual acquired area where mining is being done is much less and is being reduced since the Forest (Conser-vation) Act, 1980 and Wild Life Protection Act, 1972 have been operationalised. As against this, the area adversely affected by agricultural projects and population pressure is 71 per cent, 12 per cent by river valley projects, 4 per cent by new industries, 2 per cent by road and communication and 11 per cent by other miscellaneous purposes.

State of Forest Report 2001 has estimated forest cover in the country at 20.55 per cent of its geographical area. Up to 2001, there is an overall increase of 6.0 per cent in the forest cover.

In the report, Mr Tandon has stressed the need for collection of data of closed mines for which he suggests detailed surveys should be conducted to assess the available underground space.