The mines for Coal India will get faster environment and forest clearances after the details are ironed out at a meeting later this week. Initial estimates suggest that the clearances would help at 113 million tonnes or nearly 25 per cent of the estimated output of 470 million tonnes for Coal India during the current fiscal.
13 projects of Coal India will benefit from the clearances that are expected shortly. The public hearing regarding the 13 projects have been completed so the process for clearances can be given faster.
The forest and environment clearances for several of these mines have been hanging fire for several months. In some cases state pollution control boards have taken two years to give clearances against the prescribed norm of 45 days.
Sources told NDTV that a meeting to resolve the contentious issues is likely on July 6.
The move from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) should be a huge relief for power companies, as well as for Coal India. For Coal India, higher production will ease the severe criticism that it has been facing.
During the last financial year, Coal India missed the targets by about 15 MT as it only produced 436 MT. It was facing problems which were beyond Coal India’s control, as it battles forest and environment hurdles.
NDTV has also learnt that the PMO may also consider a proposal of enhanced exploration process in forest areas without seeking prior forest clearance. Sources say that PMO is of the view that forest clearance is required at the production stage, which anyway should be clubbed with application for environment clearance.
By taking this step PMO’s endeavour is to cut down the time to get clearance for coal blocks and ultimately enhance the production.
India is facing acute shortage of power because of lack of adequate supply of coal for power companies. Nearly 65 per cent of India’s power output is accounted for my thermal power. India has a generation capacity of 203,000 megawatts and faces a peak demand shortage in excess of 10 per cent.