Talcher: Coal extraction from Mahanadi Coalfields Limited-owned Jagannath coalmines was halted since the small hours of Tuesday as the environmental clearance (EC) issued to the coalmine has expired. In view of the technical issue, the deputy director of mines has issued notice to the Jagannath coalmines authorities to stop extraction of coal.
Consequently, exploration of coal has been ordered to be discontinued from the Jagannath coalmines.
It is learnt that coal production, might not resume before three or four days. The MCL authority has to get the environmental clearance and produce it before the state pollution control board which would then grant them consent to explore the mineral. The closure of the mine has sparked resentment among the workers as they held the officials responsible for negligence and the development.
They alleged the concerned officials did not act on time to renew the environmental clearance. The MCL authorities can now blame none but themselves for disruption of coal production. The officials who are quick to blame others for slight disruption in coal production are mum for the losses.
Sources said, environmental clearance of Jagannath coal mines which has a production capacity of 25 million tonne per annum has expired September 6, 2018. Later, the term has been extended for an additional six months.
The Jagannath coalmine extracts 20-25,000 tonne coal from its mine daily and supplies 5-6000 tonne of coal to Talcher Thermal Power Station (TTPS) in Talcher.
Finally, the inevitable happened as the Environmental nod to coal production has expired with effect from March 31, 2019 as the MCL authorities have failed to get the environmental clearance from the Centre on time before the expiry of the term.
Consequently, the office of the deputy director, mines has issued a notice (letter No.1447, dated- September 23) directing the coalmine authorities to stop extraction and transportation of coal beginning October 1.
Earlier, coal extraction from the mine was disrupted due to lack of enough land for exploration while extraction has now stopped due to neglect by senior officials, the workers alleged. When contacted, S Choudhury, project officer of Jagannath Coalmines confirmed the development stating that extraction and transportation of coal has stopped due to expiry of the EC.
Interestingly, the MCL authorities Monday blamed the residents for loss of production of `2.68 crore following an impromptu agitation over the death of a goat at Jagannath railway sidings No. 1 and 2 in Talcher Coalfields Ltd.
The agitated residents were demanding a compensation of `60,000.