PMO pushes for coal production

As the country battles coal shortage, the Prime Minister's Office [PMO] on Friday sought to give a push to its production by directing the environment ministry to grant clearances to 12 projects which would lead to an additional output of 10 million tonnes per year.

The PMO took stock of the coal production at a meeting attended by representatives of the ministries of coal, power and environment and forest besides the officials of the Coal India Limited [CIL].

The meeting specifically reviewed the status of 12 projects of the CIL which are proposed to increase production by 25 per cent.

At the meeting, it was decided that these projects should be given clearances by the environment ministry within 3-4 month.

These are expected to yield additional 10 million tonnes of coal every year.

The progress in the matter will be monitored on a monthly basis by the PMO, the sources said.

The push comes at a time when the demand and supply gap of coal is expected to touch 200 million tonnes by 2016-17 after crossing the 161.5 million tonnes mark last fiscal. This has severely affected the power sector.

Around 168 projects of CIL are awaiting clearances from the environment ministry, hurting the prospect of 200 million tonne production of coal per year.

Earlier, the environment ministry had assured the coal ministry that necessary changes in the existing regulations regarding public hearing would be made.

Public hearing for environment clearance involves a meeting of all stakeholders, including villagers of the area to be affected, the district administration, the company and the government representatives to ensure minimum damage from the project. However, no relaxation has been granted in this by the ministry, the sources said.
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