Nod likely for CIL's Orissa projects as Ramesh softens stand

Coal India Ltd's four projects in Orissa awaiting environmental clearance will be taken up for consideration by an environmental panel at a meeting next week, according to a report.

The development comes in the wake of environment minister Jairam Ramesh softening his earlier hard stance and giving an assurance that he will be "positive" towards infrastructure projects.

"Four projects of Coal India in Orissa will come up for consideration for clearance before the expert appraisal committee of the ministry of environment and forests next week," a source in the coal ministry said, adding "during the meeting, committee is likely to recommend the cases for clearance,'' according to The Economic Times.

All the four projects of Coal India in the state - Vasundhara West, Samleswari, HBI and Delhpai - have been held up for the last six months to one year over environmental issues.

The projects could not get clearance as the area under which they fall are categorised as 'critically polluted' under the comprehensive environment pollution index (CEPI).

CEPI captures the various health dimensions of the environment, and acts as an early warning tool to facilitate early interventions. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had last month asked the MoEF to revisit projects under CEPI.