Most of these blocks come under ‘no go mining zones'

Green clearance to coal blocks allocated to ultra mega power projects of companies such as Reliance Power, Essar and Adani are likely to be taken up by the ministerial panel on March 1.

Private power developers have been seeking Government intervention at the highest level for expediting environmental and forest clearances for these captive blocks.

The blocks

These blocks are Mahan and Chhatrasal (Madhya Pradesh), Parsa East, Kante Basan, Morga-II and Parsa (Chhattisgarh) and Ashok Karkata and Chakla (Jharkhand). The delay has been due to the fact that these blocks come under forest areas that have classified as ‘no go mining zones'.

The power developers have been seeking green clearance on priority for these blocks. Delays, according to them, not only results in pushing back the development of power projects but also forces the end-use plants to buy coal from alternate and costlier sources.

Last week, at the high-level secretary panel headed by the Prime Minister's Principal Secretary, Mr Pulok Chatterji, the producers once again pitched for an early meeting of the Group of Ministers (GoM) on coal headed by the Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, to consider granting forest clearances for eight blocks.

Of the total coal-based power plant capacity of 69,420 MW, almost 17,500-MW projects are based on captive coal blocks. About half of the captive-based capacity is for ultra mega power projects.

Block allotment

The Mahan block is jointly allocated to Essar and Hindalco, Chhatrasal to Reliance Power, Parsa East and Kente Basan to Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Limited (RRVUNL). The Adani Group and RRVUNL had formed a joint venture Parsa Kente Collieries Ltd, to develop these mines.

Chakla and Ashok Karkata to Essar Power, Morga-II to Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation Ltd, and Parsa coal block to Chhattisgarh State Electricity Board.

The GoM is also expected to discuss issues pertaining to Coal India's projects which are awaiting environmental clearance.

richam@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 26, 2012)
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