BCCL to promote silk cultivation over underground mines in Jharkhand by planting Arjun and Assan trees

The objective, according to BCCL officials, is to provide self-employment to the people living in the region under the CSR fund.
Representational Image.
Representational Image.

RANCHI: In a first-of-its-kind initiative taken by Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL), Arjun and Assan trees will be planted over the underground mines in Dhanbad, under the mine reclamation project so that silk cultivation could be done on those trees once they grow.

The objective, according to BCCL officials, is to provide self-employment to the people living in the region under the CSR fund. Notably, Arjun and Assan trees are the most suitable trees for rearing cocoons and are also found in abundance in some of the tribal districts like West Singhbum, East Singhbhum and Khunti.

Sericulture has also been a traditional practice among the tribals in Jharkhand. They further added that the initiative has been taken as a pilot project which will be extended further looking at the impact of this scheme in the days to come.

Mine reclamation is the process of restoring land that has been mined to a natural or economically usable state under which plantation of trees is done in the mining area once it gets completed.

“Mostly reclamation is done over the overburden dump (OB dump) but this time, a suggestion was made to do plantation of Arjun and Assan trees paving way for tassar cultivation after they grow up. Work order for plantation has already been placed to the forest department and they will be doing plantation of more than 33000 trees in this coming monsoon,” said Environment Head of the Department Kumar Ranjeev.

Presently it is being done under mine reclamation project and tassar cultivation will be done through the CSR project when the trees grow up, he added.

Initially, OB dump was considered for this project it was not found suitable for the project then it was decided to do plantation in the 20-hectare area in Putki-Balihari through the forest department following which an attempt will be made for tassar cultivation.

Kumar further added that "It is a four year project under which preparation is done in the first one year while plantation is done in the second year and monitoring of plants is done in the next two years.”

Preparation has already been done and plantation of trees is to be done this year, he added.

According to Kumar, as per the work order forest department will also have to replace the plant if any of them dries up.

“Primarily, the objective is to improve greenery in the mining area but we also focus on sustainable development and engage more and more locals in self-employment,” said the HOD Environment.

Once it gets successful, they will expand it to other areas also, he added.

“In addition to that, we have also developed several ecological parks in mining areas. So far, four such parks are functional, while two are being developed. Whereas in the next five years nine more ecological parks will be developed in the mining areas,” said the HOD.

Earlier, suitable plants were planted by the forest department till 2010-11, but later Forest Research Institute (FRI) was engaged to guide BCCL on the plantation of suitable trees in the region, and ecological restoration was done with local species of grass, shrub and trees over 294 hectares of land in Dhanbad over OB dump, he added.

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