Coal PSUs like BCCL,CCL, SECL, ECL etc. have established 15 Eco-parks during the last 5 years. Noteworthy thing is that no fund has been allocated by the Government for Eco-parks. These eco parks have been established by Coal/Lignite PSUs. Maintenance and upkeep of Eco-parks are also funded by respective Coal/Lignite PSUs.
These eco-parks are spread across the states & UTs. These eco-parks are spread across the states & UTs. Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh each state have 3, Tamil Nadu and Odisha each state have 2 while Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra each state have 1 eco-parks. 15 eco parks have been developed in these states and 19 more to be set up in different states in near future.
Eco-parks were developed by Coal PSUs for recreational purpose of nearby localities and no revenue earned from these Eco-parks is spent on development of the mining areas. However, Kenapara Eco-Park, SECL, Chhattisgarh is run and maintained by local Self-Help Groups to promote mine tourism. These Self-Help Groups are also earning revenues from floating restaurant, pisciculture and boating facilities of the Kenapara Eco-park for their livelihood.
Mining areas, after exhaustion of coal reserves, offer good potential for promoting tourism by developing eco-parks, sites for water sports, underground visits, golf grounds, avenues for recreation, adventure, bird watching etc.
Coal PSUs are planning to develop more such eco-parks in exhausted mining areas in future. The sites for eco-parks have been identified and process has already been initiated by coal companies.