India’s first plan for a socially fair shift away from coal in areas where mines have been shut will include a survey of local people. The government is seeking support from the World Bank for the plan. Work on the plan will begin this month, with ground surveys of two mining-hub districts in eastern India.
Preliminary reports will be submitted to the government within a year, they added. The timeline for the “just transition” project is about eight years and will cost at least $1 billion, they said.
There are more than 290 abandoned or closed coal mines in India, government data shows. Most people still depend on the planet-heating fossil fuel for a living despite years of mining destroying their crops and polluting local water and air. A lot of people lose their livelihood when mines close. The population around these coal belts is poor, he said.
Officials said the plan would focus on mines that have already been shut or are slated for closure. But lessons learned will be useful as India looks to diversify its energy mix, officials noted.
India, the world’s third largest energy-consuming country, is aggressively adding renewable power capacity to achieve a 500 gigawatt goal by 2030, while at the same time beefing up coal production to meet growing energy needs, secure its energy supplies and take advantage of its vast coal reserves.
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