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India occupies 2.5 percent of the total land area of the world, but supports 16.7 percent of the world population. The per capita availability of agricultural land has shrunk to 0.3 hectare per farmer compared to over 11 hectares in the developed world. Land is the most important natural resource which embodies total ecosystem. Mining is a site specific industry and it cannot be shifted anywhere else from the location where mineral occur. Hence there is urgent need to reclaim and restore mined out land for its productive reuse. India is among the top ten mineral producing nations and contributes significantly in the production of coal, iron ore, bauxite, limestone and manganese ore in the world.
To produce every million tons of coal, 4.0 hectare of land is degraded directly and another 4.0 hectares indirectly. The legal aspects of reclamation presently consider only bringing the mined out land to its original contour or to its original revenue earning capacity in India. There is no system of undertaking likes redeemable bonds as in European or American countries. Only the economic parameter is given highest weight age and filling up to the mined out land is still considered as best outcome of reclaimed land. Other uses which may be more socially and environmentally acceptable are overlooked. An attempt is made in this paper to develop a generalized matrix, covering environmental, social and economical parameters, which may help in selecting the best post mining land uses which are as per the
requirements of local community. Presented case study will help understand the matrix solution.
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