New Delhi: Hindalco Industries and GMR need not apply for fresh environment clearances (EC) for four blocks allotted to them in the recent auction as the government has transferred to them the approvals granted to the earlier allottees.
In a bid to expedite operations from the recently allocated coal mines, the Environment Ministry had amended EC norms after a request made by the Coal Ministry to facilitate transfer of ECs to successful coal bidders.
"We have transferred the ECs of three coal blocks -- Kathautia project, Gare IV/4 and Gare IV/5 -- to Mumbai-based Hindalco Industries. We have also transferred the EC of Talabira-I project to Bangalore-based GMR Chhattisgarh Energy," a senior Environment Ministry official told PTI.
The ministry transfered the ECs last month to these two companies with some conditions, the official added.
"Any change in scope of work will attract the provision of Environment Protection Act (EPA) 1986 and Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 2006 in conjunction with the subsequent amendments/circular," said the letters sent to these two companies.
That apart, "all conditions stipulated in the EC letter shall remain unchanged. The successful bidder shall be liable, if any, for any act of violation of the EPA 1986, EIA notification 2006/ subsequent amendments and circulars which it has inherited during the transfer.
"The successful bidder should be liable for compliance of all court directions, if any," the letters added.
Earlier, the EC for Kathautia opencast coal mine project with a coal capacity of 0.80 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) in a mining lease (ML) area of 938.27 hectare in Palamu district, Jharkhand was given to Usha Martin Ltd.
Similarly, the EC for the Talabira-I opencast mine project with 3 MTPA capacity in ML area of 170.30 hectare in Sambalpur district in Odisha was held by Hindalco Industries.
The EC for the Gare IV/4 coal mine project with 1 MTPA in ML of 701.51 hectare in Raigarh district of Chhattisgarh was given to Jayaswal Neco Industries.
The EC for the Gare IV/5 mine project with 1 MTPA capacity in an ML area of 860.41 hectare in Raigarh district, Madhya Pradesh was given to Monnet Ispat Ltd.
As per earlier norms, the EC for any project was allowed to be transferred to another applicant with a written 'no objection' by the transferor, to and by the regulatory authority concerned.
Now, the ministry has made amendments to the September 2006 EIA notification, allowing transfer of EC to new coal block allottees without taking 'no objection' nod from previous owners.
The EC norms were eased as new coal block allottees feared that old allottees would create problems in transferring EC with no objection nod, thus delaying the commencement of mining operations.
The Centre recently auctioned 29 blocks in two phases to companies like Monnet, GMR Chhattisgarh, Hindalco, Reliance Cement among others, garnering about Rs 2 lakh crore.
The auction followed the Supreme Court's cancellation of 204 coal blocks last year.