Largest Coal and Power District: Korba, Chhattisgarh Highlights Key Energy Transition Challenges for India | The Weather Channel – Articles from The Weather Channel

Coal yard.

(Sarath Kumar/TOI, BCCL)

Korba district in Chhattisgarh has 13 operational mines. Four other mines are in preparation. Of those that are operational, up to 10 are loss-making and only three are profitable – Gevra, Kusmunda and Dipka – producing 95% of the coal.

It’s a quintessential example of an economy that will need to immediately think about what to do when India starts ‘phasing out’ coal, as promised at the annual Global Climate Change Conference (COP26) Last year.

Coal, which is part of the fossil fuel basket, is the biggest contributor to emissions and so it is expected to be phased out as part of climate action to limit emissions so that global temperature rise is limited at 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The latest study found that Korba’s coal-centric economy has hampered the growth of other economic sectors, including agriculture, forestry, manufacturing and services, even though low socio-economic status and strong dependence on the coal economy makes it highly vulnerable to unplanned closures of mines and industries, with severe socio-economic consequences.

Bearing in mind that India’s largest coal and power districts will face the challenges of energy transition much sooner than expected – Korba is expected to peak in 2025 – the intervention of Economic restructuring and development will be key, the latest study from the International Forum for Environmental Sustainability and Technology (iFOREST) ​​has pointed out.

“Korba: Planning a Just Transition for India’s Largest Coal and Power District” was launched earlier this week.

“Our study of Korba in Chhattisgarh essentially shows that a just transition in India is about the redevelopment of the coal regions. Major policy and legal reforms in land, labor and finance will be needed to enable a smooth and just transition. We need to develop a strategic roadmap for this and secure the necessary funding to support it, both nationally and through international cooperation,” said Chandra Bhushan of iForest.

Very clear why Bhushan says so. As mentioned in the report, with the decline in coal production, for the mining companies (here, South-Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL)), the closure of the eight unprofitable mines in the Korba district over the next few years is a win-win situation as saved resources can be diverted to start a just transition in Korba.

Although it has coal mines and several power plants and other industries such as the Balco plant, the district is a Schedule V district with over 40% tribal population and declared an “Aspirational District” with 41% of people living below the poverty line and over 32% of the district’s population is “multidimensionally poor” with limited access to health care, education and basic amenities.

The figures are alarming considering that Korba produces more than 16% of India’s coal and is also an electricity hub, with 6,428 MW of thermal capacity. Clearly, the coal-based economy has not done justice to the poorest of the poor and this makes the task of transition more difficult given human resources.

The study points out that Korba has an aging formal workforce – at least 70% of SECL and National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) workers are in their 40s and 60s.

“Their retirement can be synchronized with the closure of factories and mines, making it less difficult for formal workers to transition. The biggest challenge is the re-employment of informal workers, who make up more than 60% of the workforce. coal industry. They will need employment support and retraining. Training for the new green economy is another challenge,” the report says.

Speaking at the launch of the study report, Coal Ministry Secretary Anil Kumar Jain said, “A place-based approach is one answer to ensure a just transition as districts have different issues. A strategic approach will be needed because there is a big human aspect involved in the energy transition.”

He also suggested that the repurposing of mining lands may be a key opportunity.

NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant welcomed the idea of ​​the report and said it can become the blueprint in terms of impact on jobs and livelihoods, incomes and other social sector investments . Energy change will have consequences for coal-dependent districts and just transitional result of states as a concept worldwide to ensure that cities in cold-dependent regions do not suffer. »

“I fully agree that a strategic plan needs to be developed in the sector to prevent mine closures and socio-economic disruption and the policy should include elements of a cold phase out strategy at the national level of the coal-based electricity phase-out plan,” he said.

“The just transition is not just about action on climate change; it is an opportunity to reverse the resource curse in coal districts. The next 10 to 20 years will be crucial for Korba to plan and implement a We must have the right policies and governance mechanisms to ensure that this opportunity to build a new inclusive economy materializes,” said Srestha Banerjee, Director, Just Transition, iFOREST.

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The above article was published by a news agency with minimal changes to the title and text.