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Govt sets up co-ordination panel to speed up clearance of coal projects

New Delhi: Amid multiple coal mining activities facing regulatory hurdles, the government has set up a co-ordination panel of central and state-level officials to speed up clearances as well as ensure timely completion of such projects.

The constitution of the Committee comes at a time when state-owned Coal India (CIL), which accounts for over 80 percent of the domestic coal production, is awaiting environment and forestry clearances pertaining to its 241 projects.

Representational Image. Reuters

Representational Image. Reuters

The Committee shall "act as the coordinating agency for monitoring and expediting environment and forests for expediting FCA ( Forest Conservation Act) clearances," according to a Coal Ministry document.

The committee under the Chairmanship of Coal Secretary S K Srivastava shall "monitor and facilitate coordination for timely and early completion of procedures...at the state level with regard to coal mine projects in the public and private sector and suggest measures fro improving the same."

"Any particular issue pertaining to the coal sector that is referred to it by the ministry shall also be deliberated upon/monitored by the committee," the ministry said.

The committee shall have principal secretaries of coal producing states and representatives from the ministries like Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Steel, Power among others.

The Coal Ministry will act as Secretariat for the Committee which will meet once in three months.

At present, 48 environmental clearance proposals of Coal India having a capacity of about 109 million tonnes are awaiting clearances at different levels and 193 forestry proposals of the PSU are awaiting clearances either at MoEF (Ministry of Environment and Forests) or at the state levels.

PTI