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February , 2011
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PM for early resolution of 'no-go' mining rows

Source: GovernanceNow.com, Date: February , 2011

February 4, 2011: Concerned over coal shortages faced by the power sector, prime minister Manmohan Singh is believed to have asked the ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) to revisit the policy of 'no-go' mining areas.

"Prime minister called a meeting on Monday wherein he asked MoEF to revisit the policy of no-go and go areas," a source privy to the development told PTI.

During the meeting, attended by power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, environment minister Jairam Ramesh, the prime minister expressed concerns that scarcity of coal was impacting growth and asked MoEF to address the issue.

"The PM wanted everything to be expedited at the earliest so that coal production is not affected," he said.

The coal deficit being faced by power utilities in the country is expected to double to 104 MT in the next fiscal.

The deficit at present is being met through imports. Of the total installed power capacity of 159,398 MW in India, almost 50 per cent is based on coal.

Last year, the environment ministry had prohibited mining in 'no-go' areas where there is a forest cover of 30 per cent.

As per the guidelines, the mining is allowed only in the 'go' areas. The 'no-go' classification has disallowed mining in 203 coal blocks with a production potential of 660 million tonnes per annum, which would affect about 1,30,000 MW potential power generation capacity per annum, officials in the coal ministry said.

The prime minister also asked Ramesh to "revisit the moratorium on CEPI (Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index)", the source said.

In 2009, the ministry of environment and forests had introduced CEPI to categorise the environmental quality at specific locations and conducted a nation-wide assessment of industrial clusters.

In a notification on January 13, 2010, the MoEF had imposed a temporary moratorium on development projects in 43 clusters labelled critically polluted.

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