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Wardha Valley Coalfield: An Overview

The Wardha Valley Coalfield, located in western India, is a key source of coal for power plants. It has 37 active mines that produce up to 59.5 Million Tonne (MT) of coal annually. This coalfield falls in a tiger belt, and is surrounded by two wildlife sanctuaries and a national park. In spite of being an active mining region for more than a century, there is limited research on Wardha Valley Coalfield and its impact on surrounding ecology. Legal Initiative for Forest and Environment (LIFE) has studied the extent of mining, status of Environmental and Forest Clearances, and the ecological issues in the coalfield. This study found key gaps in data and gross ignorance in granting of environmental clearances by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. There are also major concerns about mining activity increasing pollution, depleting the groundwater table and straining humanwildlife conflicts.