A section of mineral experts believe that farmlands excavated for exploration of minerals like coal can be refilled again for cultivation after extracting the resources.
The people displaced in course of exploration can also be resettled after the exploration of the minerals like coal, hard rocks and resources, they said.
They have expressed their observation to The Daily Observer after the government decided not to allow open-pit exploration of coalfields in the country, as the system will reduce food production in the relevant fertile areas as it will need excavation of thousands of acres of arable lands.
The open-pit mining will also displace a huge number of people, creating an additional problems for the administration which will have to relocate them elsewhere. Relocation is always a big problem in a small country with huge population of some 160 million people, according to the officials of the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources (MoPEMR).
The government has also decided to import coal for the proposed and the under-construction coal-fired power plants from foreign sources.
As the decision has been taken, there is no scope for the relevant authorities to accept any further proposal for open-pit mining in any of the five coalfields in the country, said a senior official at MoPEMR.
The decision was finalised at a meeting when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is also the in-charge of the MoPEMR, visited the ministry early last month.
However the energy experts have questioned the latest decision of the government against open-pit mining and its suggestion to import coal to run the coal-fired power plants.
They contradicted the opinion that suggests that the open-pit mining destroys farm lands and displaces people for ever. In fact for open-pit mining lands are excavated in phases and after the exploration of cola the excavated lands are refilled to resume cultivation. In the same way the displaced people can be re-settled at the same area after exploration of coal.
It means the cultivation will be stopped and the people of the area would be displaced only for certain periods and not permanently. After the exploration the excavated lands will be refilled for resumption of cultivation and resettlement of the displaced people.
For instance for exploration of the proposed Phulbari coalmine of total 5,933 hectare of land, about 80 per cent of which is cultivable land will be required.
The Project will use acquired land in phases over the mine life of 30 years and at one time, no more than 2,000 ha of land will be in use for mining and associated activities.
There will be no loss of land for open pit mining in the mine area, just a temporary change in land use pattern will occur and the land after coal extraction will be brought back to productive uses, said a senior official of the Asia Energy Corporation in Dhaka.