Jaiswal: Listing priorities
New Delhi, June 15: The coal ministry plans to set up a high-powered committee to deal with the environmental hurdles in mine allocation. The high powered committee will study the problems faced in coal mines allocation, coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said.
He said the committee would be set up in the next 15 days to assess the scope of Coal India activities in no go areas earmarked by the ministry of environment.
The coal ministry will ensure that the impact of CILs projects in such areas was minimal, Jaiswal said.
He said it would also look into the issue of mines that had been allocated but were flagged off by the environment ministry as they included forest land.
One of the immediate fallout of the difference between the coal and environment ministries has been the delay in the bidding process for the 4000 mega watt mega power project in Chhattisgarh.
The request for qualification (RFQ) for the project has been delayed as there was no environment clearance for coal block allocation. The RFQ was to be issued on July 5.
The environment ministry has demarcated areas as go or no go for mining and the block for the Chhattisgarh project, at Surguja, falls in the no go area.
The environment ministry has classified 30 per cent of the area in nine coal fields as no go zones for mining.
The coal ministry has sought the Prime Ministers intervention to remove the roadblock. The environment ministrys classification will put 619 million tonnes of coal production annually out of reach.
The nine coal fields are North Karanpura and West Bokaro (Jharkhand), IB Valley (Orissa and Chhattisgarh) Singrauli (Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh), Talcher (Orissa), Wardha (Maharashtra), Mandirgarh and Hasdeo (Chhattisgarh) and Shoagpur (Chhattisgarh and MP).
According to the mid-term appraisal of the Planning Commission, domestic industry will need to buy more foreign coal assets as the demand-supply gap will shoot up to 200 million tonnes by the end of 2017.
CIL and NTPC, the countrys largest power generator, are looking to import coal or acquire stakes in coal mines in Australia, Indonesia, the US, Mozambique and South Africa.