Environment clearance held up for coal requiring projects

November 1st, 2010 - 9:39 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 1 (IANS) The environment ministry Monday deferred giving the green signal to all thermal power, steel and sponge iron projects awaiting clearance till the status of their environment and forest clearance for coal supply sources are not furnished.

According to the ministry, they have come across cases where substantial investment and progress has been made for setting up a power or steel plant without the requisite environmental and forestry clearance about the coal blocks from the mines of Coal India.

The ministry said all these projects require a large amount of coal as raw material and availability of requisite quantity of coal is essential to ensure viability of these projects.

“In order to assess the likely adverse environmental impacts of such projects, it is desirable to have information about quality of coal to be used. In the absence of correct data on the quality of coal, the quarrying capacity may be computed wrongly, which may have adverse impact on environment,” the ministry said in a circular Monday.

The ministry said it is necessary that the status of environment and forestry clearance of the coal source is ascertained well in advance to avoid a “fait accompli situation” as also the public interest in preventing blockage of financial resources due to absence of raw material.

“It has been decided that all such proposals relating to thermal power, steel, sponge iron which are pending with the ministry or state for consideration of environmental clearance shall be deferred and delisted till the status of environment and forestry clearance of the coal supply source for Indian coal or the memorandum of understanding for imported coal is furnished,” it said.

The ministry said all infrastructure projects dependant on coal as a raw material, shall be considered only after the firm coal linkage is available and the status of environment and forestry clearance of the coal sourced is known.

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