Coal India can raise output if it gets green approvals

Siddhartha P Saikia New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018

Output can be 152 mt higher by 2017; 102 clearances pending

Public sector miner Coal India Ltd, which is under pressure to increase output to meet domestic demand, has 102 proposals pending at different levels for environmental clearance.

This issue will figure in detail at a Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting scheduled to take place in Nagpur on July 13. If these proposals are cleared, Coal India is expected to mine an additional 105.65 million tonnes (mt) in 2012-13. This can go up to 152.82 mt by 2016-17.

“Out of these projects, 25 are seeking final clearance, after which mining can immediately commence,” a Government official told Business Line.

Major hurdle

The backlog of environmental and forest approvals has become one of the major hurdles to Coal India’s mining more fuel.

Coal Ministry officials have raised these concerns with the Prime Minister and at the Group of Ministers (GoM) meet on May 30.

The last GoM, headed by former Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, had suggested that, for faster clearances, the Ministry of Environment and Forests should constitute more advisory committees to clear the backlog.

The GoM also discussed the relaxation of norms for exploration activities in coal fields. According to the Chaturvedi Committee, a miner may be allowed to bore holes with a density of 15-20 per square km, from the current norm of 1.5-2 bore holes per square km. This is essential for ascertaining the level of coal reserves in new projects.

The Environment Ministry is reviewing the reports of three pilot projects taken up to study impact of these relaxations.

Online application

The Government has also suggested introduction of ‘e-filing of applications’ for environment and forest clearances. “The Environment Ministry should quick adopt the e-filing mechanism,” said the Government official.

According to the Coal Ministry, online applications are critical in addressing time delays in processing, at both at the State and Central levels. It will facilitate timely approvals.


Published on July 09, 2012

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