Economy

Coal sector: Global investors seek single window clearance

Siddhartha P. Saikia New Delhi | Updated on August 14, 2012 Published on August 14, 2012

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Delayed green nod, land acquisition holding back investments

Global investors want ‘single window clearance’ mechanism to be put in place for investments to be made in the coal Sector.

The long waiting list of environmental and forest approvals and problems in land acquisition and rehabilitation are the primary reasons holding back companies, global investors indicated at a road show organised by IDFC in Singapore and Hong Kong earlier this month.

“We met more than100 investors (companies dealing in coal sector, financial institutions and banks) in Singapore and Hong Kong. All of them cited green clearance and land acquisition as major hurdles faced by infrastructure projects. Unless, the Government promises a single window clearance, they are not willing to come forward,” said a Government official who attended the road shows.

The Indian team was led by Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal.

Minister of State for Coal Pratik Prakashbapu Patil on Monday had voiced a similar sentiment. He had informed Rajya Sabha that coal production was adversely affected due to delays in obtaining environmental and forestry clearances, land acquisition and related rehabilitation problems.

Law and order problems in some coal fields and evacuation constraints are other issues adding to the woes.

Coal demand in India has seen compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of seven per cent, while coal production has grown by just 4.6 per cent during the 11th Five-Year Plan, according to the Coal Ministry.

To increase domestic output, the Government proposes to exploit reserves under public-private- partnership model.

Coal India plans to increase output to 615 million tonnes by 2016-17 by outsourcing jobs to private companies. At the same time, it plans to set up washeries and improve mining technology, where private partnership is envisaged.

The public sector miner has 31,647 contractual workers engaged in different projects.

Currently, 178 proposals of Coal India are awaiting the green nod. Out of these, 133 proposals are pending at State levels and 45 applications are with the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

In addition, 51 proposals from other companies are also pending at the State and Central level, according to Coal Ministry information to Rajya Sabha.

>siddhartha.s@thehindu.co.in

Published on August 14, 2012

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