Coal India is in talks with locals in Chhattisgarh who are opposing a mine expansion that would create one of the largest global operations for producing the fuel.
The protests by locals may hinder Coal India's plans to expand annual capacity to 70 million tonnes at the Gevra site in Chhattigarh' Korba district.
Coal India claims this would make the site the largest source of coal globally. In a bid to meet its rising power demand, India has been pushed to prioritise energy security and increase coal ouptut. Energy generated from coal accounts for around 70 per cent of India's electricity generation.
Deepak Sahu, joint secretary for Korba district at the Chhattisgarh Kisan Sabha, a farmers' union in the region, said that residents near Gevra are worried about air pollution, impact on groundwater levels, and fair compensation for their acquired land, reports Bloomberg.
According to the report, Coal India and its subsidiaries have faced challenges in ramping up operations, including in Chhattisgarh.
A public hearing was held this week at the Gevra site. According to a spokesperson of South Eastern Coalfields Ltd, the unit operating Gevra, the company has implemented considerable measures to tackle pollution associated with the mining process. Studies have indicated no effects on groundwater levels in Korba district, the spokesperson added.
Last year, the Coal India unit provided 700 jobs in exchange for land, which was the highest in ten years, and has also raised financial compensation for the land.
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