New Delhi: Battling with delays in forest clearances for 178 projects from state governments, Coal India has sought PMO's intervention for sorting out the issue with Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.
"There is need for creation of a suitable institutional arrangement at the state level which can help CPSEs (Central Public Sector Enterprises) in sorting out issues related to environment clearances, land acquisition and law and order on a continuous basis," Coal India (CIL) Chairman S Narsing Rao has suggested to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO).
Though environment approval is available for a substantial number of projects, either forestry clearance is not there or land acquisition/rehabilitation issues are creating problems especially in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha, sources quoting Rao said.
The problem is not as much with the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), as with the bureaucratic bottle-necks at the state level, sources added.
CIL also clarified that the total environment clearance approved by MoEF is for an annual capacity of about 600 million tonnes (MT), whereas CIL is currently producing about 470 MT.
A parliamentary committee in September has also said that delay in obtaining environmental clearance for coal projects has led to an "alarming situation" and it could impact the economy.
Production of coal has been seriously affected and it is "nation's loss," the panel has said, recommending that the forest clearance and environment clearance should be given as quickly as possible.
As on date, there are a total of 178 forest proposals that are awaiting clearances at various levels, including 125 that are awaiting stage I clearances and 53 which are awaiting stage II clearances.
At stage I level, the forest area involved is about 15,400 hectares and the projected production from the projects involved is about 128 million tonnes (MT) during 2011-12.
An area of 14,000 hectares and a projected production of about 79 MT are involved at the stage II for 2011-12, as per information.