First meeting of High Level Inter-State Joint Task Force to monitor effect of mining on Rihand Reservoir held at Singrauli

Singrauli: In a first of its kind initiative, the first meeting of inter-state high level Joint Task Force (JTF) comprising of representatives from Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh was held at Singrauli on 10th July to stipulate the standards for measuring the impact of coal mining and power plants on siltation and water quality of the Rihand reservoir, the largest manmade lake in India, near Pipri in Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh bordering Madhya Pradesh.

The JTF will ensure that all mining and environmental measures are implemented on the basis of scientific studies in an impartial manner taking into account the interests of all stakeholders.

The JTF will monitor the impact of mining on the Rihand reservoir and stipulate standards for measuring the impacts of coal mining and power plants on siltation and water quality of the Rihand reservoir. The catchment area of this dam is spread over Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

The first meeting of the JTF held at Hotel Satya International, Waidhan, in Singrauli. Shri P. K. Singh, CCF, Rewa Circle, Rewa chaired this meeting. Shri S.K. Singh (DFO Singrauli), Shri Sailesh Singh (Superintendent Engineer, UPJVNL) and Shri Arvind Tripathi (Executive Engineer, Water Resourse Department, Singrauli) were also present at the member as a member of the task force. Shri Dipesh Bhatia, General Manager, Mahan Coal Ltd (MCL) also displayed a presentation in the meeting.

The JTF members discussed various environmental issues, including the impact of mining on Rihand reservoir and also reviewed study of NEERI and NIH on the environmental impact of the mining activity and power plants in the region.

This is a unique example of its kind, where as per conditions stipulated by Ministry of Environment and Forests, Mahan Coal Ltd has conducted a study by National Institute of Hydrology, Roorkee related to Rihand Reservoir and its catchment area . In addition to that, MCL has also engaged NEERI, Nagpur to conduct a study on the singrauli region comprised of uttar Pradesh & Madhya Pradesh.

The chairperson Shri P. K. Singh, CCF, Rewa Circle, Rewa said, “Constituting the JTF is a progressive step to ensure that environmental issues are addressed in a scientific manner by mining companies. This task force will monitor the usage of water from Rihand dam and siltation on the dam from mining and other industrial activities and will work towards its control.

A NIH study found that incremental sediment load from the Mahan coal block at its peak level will be only 0.073% of the current sediment load in the Rihand River. The study has suggested comprehensive mitigation measures that Mahan Coal Ltd will implement as the project progresses.

NEERI is also conducting a study to assess the cumulative impact of the large number of power plants and coal mines located in a small area and will suggest appropriate measures to mitigate the identified impact.

The JTF was formed in compliance of condition no XIII of the Stage-I Forest Clearance granted to Mahan Coal Ltd by the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF). The JTF, constituted in February 2014, comprises officials from Madhya Pradesh Forest Department, Central Water Commission, Uttar Pradesh Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd., Water Resources Department of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattishgarh states.

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