Coal India awaiting green clearances for key projects

Over 10 months after the shelving of the controversial No-Go criterion for clearing mining projects by the government, India's largest coal miner Coal India Ltd (CIL) was still awaiting environmental clearance for projects that would contribute around 312 million tonne (MT) of annual incremental production, or half of it's targeted annual production of 612 million tonne (MT) by the end of the current Plan period in 2017.

The issue of clearance delays would be discussed by the Parliamentary Consultative Committee headed by coal minister Sri Prakash Jaiswal on 13 July.

Currently, the number of proposals by CIL awaiting environmental clearances stands at a total of 102.  The company's production has been at 431 million tonne (MT) over the past two successive years with impacts to output in key infrastructure sectors, including power and steel.

The 102 project proposals that are under environmental clearance (EC) have the potential to up the company's EC approved capacity from 109 MT per annum to 420 MT per annum and according to the company's  plan, the projects would contribute a total of 623 MT coal over the next five years.

Mining projects are granted environmental clearance under the Environment Protection Act of 1987. The Environment Appraisal Committee (EAC) recommends projects for clearance.

According to experts, a major reason for the delay in grant of EC was serial processing of applications of Forest Clearance and EC.