Karol Bagh | IAS GS Foundation Course | 29 May, 6 PM Call Us
This just in:

State PCS

Daily Updates


Protests in Chhattisgarh Over Coal Mining

  • 22 Apr 2023
  • 7 min read

For Prelims: Coal Mines, Coal Reserves, Classification of coal

For Mains: Coal Mining and its Impacts on Environment and local Communities.

Why in News?

Recently, the Adani Enterprises Limited (AEL) coal mining project in Chhattisgarh has sparked a controversy due to its impact on the environment and local communities.

  • AEL has been mining coal in the Parsa East and Kente Basan coal blocks of Chhattisgarh's Surguja district for over a decade now.
  • For more than a year now, locals, largely from the Gond tribe, in Hariharpur, Ghatbarra, and Fattepur villages of Chhattisgarh, have been holding a sit-in at the entrance to Hariharpur against mining.

What are the Impacts of the Mining Operations?

  • Impact on the Environment:
    • Mining in the region will lead to the loss of about 8 lakh trees of the Sal forests in Hasdeo Aranya. This will end up affecting the catchment of the Hasdeo river.
    • Around the time that mining was beginning, there had been an attempt to save the trees. The National Green Tribunal (NGT), in 2014, stayed the mining licenses, ordering studies on the environmental impact of the mines. However, the Supreme Court set the NGT order aside, and mining began.
  • Impact on Locals:
    • The mining project has adversely affected the lives of locals. As the mine has consumed forest land.
    • The mines have destroyed grazing land for cattle, affected the groundwater level, and the blasting has loosened the earth around borewells, and tube wells people had been using for minor farming.
    • The stream next to Hariharpur, once used to have water and fish throughout the year, has turned into a muddy stream since the digging has affected the catchment area.

What is Coal?

  • About:
    • It is a type of fossil fuel found in the form of sedimentary rocks and is often known as 'Black Gold'.
    • It is a conventional source of energy and is widely available. It is used as a domestic fuel, in industries such as iron and steel, steam engines and to generate electricity. Electricity from coal is called thermal power.
    • The leading coal producers of the world include China, US, Australia, Indonesia, India.
  • Distribution of Coal in India:
    • Gondwana Coal Fields (250 million years old):
      • Gondwana coal makes up to 98% of the total reserves and 99 % of the production of coal in India.
      • It forms India’s metallurgical grade as well as superior quality coal and has a high ash content.
      • It is found in Damodar (Jharkhand-West Bengal), Mahanadi (Chhattisgarh-Odisha), Godavari (Maharashtra), and Narmada valleys.
    • Tertiary Coal Fields (15 – 60 million years old):
      • Carbon content is very low but is rich in moisture and sulphur.
      • Tertiary coalfields are mainly confined to extra-peninsular regions.
      • Important areas include Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Himalayan foothills of Darjeeling in West Bengal, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Kerala.
  • Classification:
    • Anthracite (80 - 95% carbon content, found in small quantities in J&K).
    • Bituminous (60 - 80% carbon content and is found in Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh).
    • Lignite (40 to 55% carbon content, high moisture content and is found in Rajasthan, Lakhimpur (Assam) and Tamil Nadu).
    • Peat (less than 40% carbon content and it is in the first stage of transformation from organic matter (wood) to coal).
  • Coal Reserves:
    • Top States in terms of total coal reserves in India are Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, and Madhya Pradesh.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question (PYQ)


Q1. Consider the following statements: (2019)

  1. Coal sector was nationalized by the Government of India under Indira Gandhi.
  2. Now, coal blocks are allocated on lottery basis.
  3. Till recently, India imported coal to meet the shortages of domestic supply, but now India is self-sufficient in coal production

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only 
(c) 3 only 
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (a)

Q2. Despite having large reserves of coal, why does India import, millions of tonnes of coal? (2012)

  1. It is the policy of India to save its own coal reserves for future, and import it from other countries for the present use.
  2. Most of the power plants in India are coal-based and they are not able to get sufficient supplies of coal from within the country
  3. Steel companies need large quantity of coking coal which has to be imported

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only 
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (b)

Q3. Which one of the following is the appropriate reason for considering the Gondwana rocks as most important of rock systems of India? (2010)

(a) More than 90% of limestone reserves of India are found in them

(b) More than 90% of India’s coal reserves are found in them

(c) More than 90% of fertile black cotton soils are spread over them

(d) None of the reasons given above is appropriate in this context

Ans: (b)


Q.“In spite of adverse environmental impact, coal mining is still inevitable for development”. Discuss. (2017)

Source: TH

SMS Alerts
Share Page
× Snow