The Coal Ministry has requested the Ministry of Environment and Forests to stop rejecting proposals for coal blocks on the basis of its ''Go'' and ''No Go'' policy as it has no legal backing, Parliament was informed today.
"They (Environment Ministry) have also been requested not to recommend or reject proposals of coal blocks on the basis of ''Go'' and ''No Go'' policy as it is not backed by any law or circular of ...MoEF," Minister of State for Coal Pratik Prakashbapu Patil informed in a written reply to Lok Sabha.
Accepting that coal production has been declining due to delay in according green clearances to coal projects, the minister said that it has requested the environment ministry to fast track the projects awaiting environment and forestry clearances.
"They (MoEF) have been requested to lift restrictions imposed on the ground of Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) in seven coalfields," he said.
The minister stressed that the issues, including ''Go'' and ''no go'' categorisation, were discussed at different levels, and finally referred to the Group of Ministers on Coal.
"...it was decided to place the matter before the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure (CCI). After consideration, the CCI has referred the matter to a ...GoM for examination." he said.
As of now the GoM on coal has met four times. However, no solution could be found.
The Environment Ministry in 2009 had categorised 203 coal blocks as ''No Go'' mining zone. The output from these 203 blocks can generate around 1.3 lakh MW of power per annum as per the estimates of the Coal Ministry.
The Coal Ministry has been demanding permission to mine at least 90 per cent of these 203 blocks to meet the ever widening demand-supply gap of the dry fuel. The shortage of coal is likely to reach 200 MT by 2016-17.