The Chhatrasal coal block in Madhya Pradesh has received Stage-1 clearance from the Environment Ministry. It is one of the three captive coal blocks allotted to Reliance Power's Sasan Power in 2006.
The clearance was pending since 2009.
Forest clearances are given in two stages. In the first stage is the in-principle agreement with conditions relating to transfer, mutation and declaration as reserve/ protected forest of equivalent non-forest land for compensatory afforestation and funds for raising compensatory afforestation are stipulated.
After receipt of compliance report from the State Government, the formal approval is issued.
A Reliance Power spokesperson confirmed the development.
The Chhatrasal coal block has reserves of over 160 million tonnes. It will fuel Reliance Power's 4,000 MW Sasan and 4,000 MW Chitrangi power projects.
Sources said early this year, the Environment Ministry set up an expert committee to look into the issue of forest clearance for certain coal blocks. The committee in its report suggested that the Chhatrasal coal block be cleared, subject to conditions.
In May 2012, the committee report was accepted by the Group of Ministers (GoM). The GoM wrote to the ministry recommending the coal block be cleared.