GoM to discuss environmental issues related to coal mining next week
New Delhi: An inter-ministerial panel, headed by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, is likely to discuss various environmental issues related to coal mining projects next week.
The meeting comes against the backdrop of green hurdles hurting overal coal production in the country, which in turn is adversely impacting the domestic power sector.
The Group of Ministers (GoM) to consider environmental and developmental issues relating to coal mining and other developmental projects is likely to meet on February 18, according to a Power Ministry official.
Among others, the panel would deliberate the legality of existing forest clearance norms and procedures.
Besides, the relocation of NTPC's proposed 1,980-MW North Karanpura project in Jharkhand to another site within the state is expected to be taken up by the committee.
As per the GoM's terms of references, "the concerns of the Ministry of Power, the Ministry of Coal and other takeholders", would be taken into account before taking a decision on the Karanpura project.
The panel has the mandate to look into all issues with regard to reconciliation of environmental concerns emanating from various developmental activities, including issues related to infrastructure and mining.
The GoM has the mandate to suggest changes, if any, in the existing statutes, rules, regulations, guidelines or executive instructions.
Pawar is heading the 12-member panel that includes Finance Minister P Chidambaram, Power Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal and Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan. Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia is also a member.
Hurdles in getting environmental and forest clearances is a major factor affecting various coal mining and power projects.
Yesterday, Scindia had said that delays in acquiring land, obtaining necessary approvals as well as equipment bottlenecks are constraining the pace of capacity addition of 88,000 MW by 2017.