Saturday, November 10, 2007

Coal policy draft includes provision to return land to affected people

Staff Correspondent, NewAge, November 10, 2007. Dhaka, Bangladesh

The advisory committee on the finalisation of the coal policy draft on Friday decided to include a provision that affected inhabitants of any coal field would get back their land after the completion of mining when the lessee would restore the land condition as it was before mining.

The committee, headed by former BUET vice-chancellor Abdul Matin Patwari, has also decided that the holder of the mining licence will rehabilitate the whole mining area and the land would be handed over to the owners.

Before mining, the people of the area will need to be resettled in a way so that their living condition improves, the committee has decided. The lessee will bear the cost of resettlement before and after mining. The committee has decided that the lessee will rehabilitate the entire mining area with dirt filling and by flattening out the mounds after mining.

Miners usually leave a lake or pond in the last phase of open-pit mining and a lake or pond develops because of land subsidence during the open-pit mining. The committee has decided that the lessee, if required, will arrange dirt by dredging nearby rivers to fill up the canal-like area at the mine.

The government will make necessary laws for the resettlement and land rehabilitation and compensation for the affected, it has decided.

The lessee will submit an environment management programme before the start of mining and will bear related cost.

The committee has also reviewed the clauses including mine water management, research relating to environmental impact and land use.

Others on the committee — University Grants Commission chairman Nazrul Islam, BUET professor Nurul Islam, journalist Ataus Samad, Dhaka University professors Badrul Imam and Mustafizur Rahman, Bangladesh army chief engineer Major General Ismail Faruque Chowdhury and Petrobangla director Maqbul-E-Elahi — attended the meeting.