The Ministry of Coal is in talks with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) to bring down the time taken for getting Forest Clearances to coal mining projects.

Speaking at a virtual conference titled Stakeholders Consultation on Addressing Financing Perspective for Auction of Coal Mines for Commercial Mining, Coal Secretary Anil Kumar Jain said: “Earlier in the mining plan, the project developer also had to submit the environmental plan too. We realised that the MoEFCC will anyway be looking at the environment plan, so why repeat it. So now the mining plan has become much more manageable.”

“Forest Clearance still takes much time. In this case, we are constantly applying our mind and talking to the Ministry of Forest. We are hopeful that in the next 6 to 12 months, the time taken to get Forest Clearance will also come down,” Jain added.

This facilitation is essential to help India grow and plug outflow of foreign exchange.

A coal ministry official also said that the Centre considering acquiring land under the Coal Bearing Areas Act, 1957 for speedier commercial coal mining. This would result in the Centre acquiring land and then leasing it out to the companies for commercial coal mining.

Till now, this Act was used to acquire land only for Public Sector Undertaking companies.