India’s coal mines are severely under-utilized amid push for new ones: Report

Source: The post is based on the article “India’s coal mines are severely under-utilized amid push for new ones: Report″ published in The Hindu on 17th October 2022.

What is the News?

According to an analysis by Global Energy Monitor(GEM), India is developing 99 new coal mines despite the Government of India’s International pledge to achieve net zero emissions by 2070.

Coal Crisis faced by India 

At least twice in 2021, India experienced severe coal crises with more than 100 of 285 thermal power plants seeing coal stocks fall below the critical mark of 25% of the required stock. 

This led to power shortages in several states including Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand and Madhya Pradesh. 

What is the Government of India doing to overcome the coal crisis?

The Government of India is developing 99 new coal mines. These projects have the capacity to produce 427 million tonnes of coal annually (mtpa).

What are the issues with this plan of developing new coal mines?

Firstly, the new coal mines projects under development could be ‘unnecessary’ as only two-thirds of the current capacity is under use.

– Note: India has a 36% underutilised coal capacity in existing mines, equivalent to 433 mtpa. The underutilized capacity exceeds the proposed capacity of 427 mtpa.

Secondly, the upcoming projects put 165 villages and 87,630 families at risk of displacement. And 41,508 of these families belong to scheduled tribes.

Thirdly, water shortages would be exacerbated by the new coal projects, increasing demand by 1,68,041 kilolitres per day. Some of these new coal mine projects are located in high and extreme water-risk zones.

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