GoM to meet within a week to address `no go` mining issue
Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal on Thursday said a Group of Ministers on Coal will meet within a week to try and iron out the vexed issue of "go" and "no-go" areas in coal blocks.
New Delhi: Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal on Thursday said a Group of Ministers on Coal will meet within a week to try and iron out the vexed issue of "go" and "no-go" areas in coal blocks.
"The Group of Ministers will meet in the next three-four days or within a week to deliberate on issues like `go` and `no-go`, among others," Jaiswal told reporters on the sidelines of an Assocham event here.
Last year, the Environment Ministry had prohibited mining in `no-go` areas, where the forest cover is 30 percent. The `no-go` classification disallowed mining in 203 blocks with the potential of producing 660 million tonnes of coal a year. The coal exploited from these blocks could have been used to generate around 1.3 lakh MW of power per annum.
Jaiswal, who was recently elevated to Cabinet status from being a junior minister with independent charge, however, said that he was unaware of the minister that will head the ministerial panel, the formation of which was approved by Cabinet last month.
"The main issues to be discussed at the meeting are in relation to the environment and forest issues with regard to the coal blocks, rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) policy and off take, among others," Jaiswal said.
Asked whether the "no" and "no-go" issue would be resolved before the forthcoming Budget session of Parliament, which is slated to begin on February 21, the minister answered in the affirmative.
Concerned over the shortage of coal being faced by the power sector, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had recently directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to revisit the policy of `no-go` mining areas.
During a January 31 meeting attended by Power Minister Sushil K Shinde and his counterparts from the environment and coal ministries, Singh had reportedly expressed concern over the scarcity of coal, which has been impacting growth, and
asked the MoEF to address the issue.
Despite being the third largest producer of coal in the world, India had to import 72 million tonnes to meet domestic demand last fiscal. According to the government`s estimates, the requirement is likely to go up to 82 million tonnes in the current fiscal and to 142 million tonnes in the 2011-12 financial year.
Out of the total installed power generation capacity of 159,398 MW in the country, almost 50 per cent is based on coal.