Environment Ministry's promise to go easy may boost Coal India output 2%

Vishwanath Kulkarni New Delhi | Updated on February 16, 2011

The Environment Ministry's move to ease restrictions imposed on mining projects in critically polluted areas such as Chandrapur and Korba would help Coal India Ltd increase its output for fiscal 2012 by about nine million tonnes or about two per cent.

Sources at Coal Ministry said the Environment Minister, Mr Jairam Ramesh, at a recent meeting had assured the Coal Minister, Mr Sriprakash Jaiswal, of easing restrictions imposed beyond March 31 by clearing such projects.

This would help Coal India boost output by eight to nine million tonnes next fiscal, sources added.

In January last year, the Environment Ministry had imposed a temporary moratorium on development projects in some 43 critically polluted industrial clusters, which got extended to March 31 this year.

Such a ban on considering projects for environmental clearance was based on the Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI), which mapped the pollution levels in some 80 clusters across the country, of which 43 were found to be critically polluted.

Some 17 projects belonging to Coal India and its subsidiary Mahanadi Coal Fields were part of the identified critically polluted sectors.

Admitting that production would go up by around 9 million tonnes, the Coal India Chairman, Mr Partha Bhattacharya, said “it depends on what decisions are taken by the Environment Ministry and if all the projects are taken into consideration.”

For the current fiscal, Coal India expects its output to be impacted by some 16 million tonnes because of the CEPI-related restrictions.

The company had set a production target of 460 million tonnes for the current fiscal.

Published on February 16, 2011

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