SECL to develop closed coal mine in Korba District as Eco-Tourism Spot
The South Eastern Coalfields (SECL), a subsidiary of Coal India, has announced plans to transform its closed Manikpur Pokhri open-cast coal mine in Chhattisgarh's Korba district into an eco-tourism spot, according to a company official. This initiative follows the successful development of a similar mine in the neighbouring Surajpur district, which has been converted into a popular tourist attraction.SECL, in collaboration with the Municipal Corporation Korba, will allocate more than Rs 110 million for the development of the Manikpur Pokhri mine into an eco-tourism destination. The company has already released Rs 56 million to the Korba Collector for this purpose, stated SECL spokesperson Sanish Chandra.Mining operations began in Manikpur Pokhri, one of the earliest mines in Korba district, in 1966 with technical consultation from Russia. However, approximately 24 years later, during the excavation process, a significant groundwater source was discovered. Despite attempts to drain the water using motor pumps, the inflow was too substantial, leading to the closure of the mine.Spanning an area of over 8 hectares, the mine, which now resembles a lake, will undergo a conversion into an eco-tourism site. The transformed destination will offer various amenities for tourists, including boating, a floating restaurant/cafeteria, a garden within the Pokhari complex, a designated selfie zone, a children's play area, a climbing wall, a rappelling wall, a zipline roller coaster, a musical fountain, and more, according to Chandra.This project not only provides the residents of Korba district with a new tourist spot but also creates new livelihood opportunities for the local population, Chandra added.It is worth noting that Korba district contributes about 16 per cent of the national coal production and houses coal power plants with a combined capacity of approximately 6,428 MW. Chandra emphasised that not only is this district home to India's largest coal mines, but it also possesses the largest coal mines in Asia.Coal India has been actively working on a plan to convert closed or abandoned mines into eco-tourism sites nationwide. This approach not only promotes these mines as tourist destinations but also generates employment opportunities for the local communities, Chandra explained.SECL previously transformed the closed Kenapara mine in Surajpur district into an eco-tourism site. Today, tourists from far and wide visit the area to enjoy activities such as boating, thanks to the efforts of SECL. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also praised this tourist spot via a tweet, Chandra added.