Min­is­ter of State for Coal Pratik Prakash­bapu Patil

Business Sphere - - Contents - Sim­ran Arora

A mid the com­pany fac­ing flak from var­i­ous quar­ters for not achiev­ing its pro­duc­tion tar­get, state-owned Coal In­dia (CIL) is still await­ing en­vi­ron­ment and forestry clear­ances for its 241 projects. At present, 48 en­vi­ron­men­tal clear­ance pro­pos­als, hav­ing a ca­pac­ity of about 109 Mty (Mil­lion tonnes Per Year), are await­ing clear­ances at dif­fer­ent lev­els, ac­cord­ing to Coal In­dia. “At present, 193 forestry pro­pos­als are await­ing clear­ances ei­ther at MoEF (Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment and Forests) or at the state lev­els,” the com­pany said. Dur­ing the 11th Five Year Plan, it said, Coal In­dia had ob­tained forestry clear­ances for 56 pro­pos­als in­volv­ing an area of 7095 Ha (hectares) from the Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment and Forests. The con­tri­bu­tion from these projects dur­ing the last fis­cal was 77.5 mil­lion tonnes (MT). “Five forestry pro­pos­als cov­er­ing an area of 538 Ha have also been cleared by MoEF dur­ing the first year of the 12th Five Year Plan,” ac­cord­ing to the com­pany which added that the con­tri­bu­tion from these projects dur­ing 2012-13 was 0.85 MT. As many as 122 en­vi­ron­men­tal clear­ance pro­pos­als for a ca­pac­ity of 207 MTPA were ap­proved by the MoEF dur­ing the 11th Five Year Plan. “So far 30 en­vi­ron­men­tal clear­ance pro­pos­als, for a ca­pac­ity of 100 Mty, have also been ap­proved by the MoEF dur­ing the first year of the XIIth Five Year Plan i.e. 2012-13,” it said. Amid con­tin­u­ous de­lays, the govern­ment has set up Cab­i­net Com­mit­tee on In­vest­ment (CCI) to ex­pe­dite de­ci­sion-mak­ing process for clear­ance of projects in the in­fra­struc­ture sec­tor, in­clud­ing coal. The govern­ment had said in May that 18 coal min­ing projects of state-owned CIL have re­ceived clear­ances from the En­vi­ron­ment Min­istry. Of these, 14 have re­ceived en­vi­ron­men­tal clear­ances and four forestry clear­ances, Min­is­ter of State for Coal Pratik Prakash­bapu Patil had said in a writ­ten re­ply in Ra­jya Sabha. “Soon af­ter the meet­ing of CCI (Cab­i­net Com­mit­tee on In­vest­ment)... MoEF (Min­istry of En­vi­ron­ment and Forests) has ac­corded en­vi­ron­men­tal clear­ances (EC) for 14 projects and stage-I forestry clear­ances (FC) for four projects of Coal In­dia Ltd (CIL),” the min­is­ter had said. Ac­cord­ing to Patil, a reg­u­lar in­ter­ac­tion be­tween Coal Min­istry and MoEF is tak­ing place to ad­dress the pend­ing is­sues con­cern­ing both en­vi­ron­men­tal and forestry clear­ances. “Sim­i­larly, reg­u­lar in­ter­ac­tion with the con­cerned state govern­ment is tak­ing place to ad­dress the is­sues re­lated to land ac­qui­si­tion and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and re­set­tle­ment of project af­fected per­sons,” he had said. The Coal Min­istry is also hold­ing reg­u­lar di­a­logue with Rail­ways to ad­dress is­sues re­lated to pend­ing rail in­fra­struc­ture projects for coal evac­u­a­tion in dif­fer­ent coal­fields, he had added. The CCI had in Fe­bru­ary con­sid­ered the pro­posal of the Coal Min­istry re­gard­ing fast track­ing of the ap­provals for the en­vi­ron­ment and for­est clear­ances in re­spect of 12 coal min­ing projects, ac­cord­ing to an of­fi­cial state­ment. Ac­cord­ing to the Min­istry of Coal, these 12 projects will lead to an­nual coal pro­duc­tion of 36.97 mil­lion tonnes and an in­vest­ment of Rs 1,347.63 crore (Rs 13.47 bil­lion). Progress on en­vi­ron­ment and for­est clear­ances has been halt­ing, both in the ab­sence of uni­for­mity in reg­u­la­tions and the cau­tious at­ti­tude of the min­istry in view of crit­i­cism that the govern­ment is di­lut­ing its com­mit­ment to green laws and the for­est Act. How­ever, there has been a sig­nif­i­cant tweak­ing of rules with the re­quire­ment of gram sabha ap­provals for lin­ear projects be­ing done away with. Tribal af­fairs min­istry took the view that tribal ar­eas need power, road and rail­way track projects as much as any other re­gion. An agree­ment was reached over eas­ing norms for reval­i­dat­ing leases that come up for re­newal and with re­gard to ar­eas bor­der­ing roads that the Na­tional High­way Au­thor­ity of In­dia wants to use to widen roads by cut­ting trees that it has planted ear­lier and that are now re­garded as forests. CIL, which ac­counts for 81 per cent of the coun­try’s coal pro­duc­tion, missed its pro­duc­tion tar­get of 464 mil­lion tonnes (MT) in the last fis­cal. It had pro­duced 452.2 MT last fis­cal. The govern­ment has set up a pro­duc­tion tar­get of 482 MT for Coal In­dia in the on­go­ing fis­cal.

Min­is­ter of State for Coal Pratik Prakash­bapu Patil

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