The Union Coal Minister Mr Sriprakash Jaiswal on Tuesday said more projects of Coal India are likely to get go-ahead in the upcoming group of minister’s (GoM) meeting on coal mining in go and no-go areas.
“The symptoms are good..... We are hopeful that more projects will be cleared in the next meeting GoM,” Mr Jaiswal said reporters here.
The second meeting of 12-member group of ministers which was to be held in the second week of March is yet to take place.
The Minister also said the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan will have an impact on prices and supply in the global coal market in the short-term.
“Negative sentiments have developed on nuclear energy post crisis in Japan. In the long run nuclear energy is important but right now there will be pressure on coal,” the Minister said.
Mr Jaiswal expressed optimism that the coal production will grow by 7 to 8 per cent from the next financial year.
“We have started getting clearances (of projects) from Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF).... it is likely that there will be growth of 7 to 8 per cent in the next financial year,” Mr Jaiswal said.
Mr Jaiswal did not completely rule out the revision in coal prices post wage revision for Coal India employees likely to take place in June. “It is likely that coal prices may increase after wage revision,” the Minister added.
The 12-member GoM that also comprising among others Mr Jaiswal, Power Minister Mr Sushil Kumar Shinde, Steel Minister Mr Beni Prasad Verma and Road Transport Minister Mr C P Joshi, met last month in the backdrop of various controversies, mainly over “go” and “no go” areas in coal mines.
In the midst of the inter—ministerial rows, Finance Minister Mr Pranab Mukherjee had asked Environment Minister Mr Jairam Ramesh to respond to issues raised by the Coal Ministry by March 15.
The meeting remained inconclusive. Mr Jaiswal had then exuded confidence that most of the issues will be resolved.
The ‘no-go’ classification by Environment Ministry in 2009 had disallowed mining in 203 blocks with the potential of producing 660 million tonnes of coal a year.
According to Coal Ministry estimates, the output from these blocks could have been used to generate around 1.3 lakh MW of power per annum.