Naveen asks Centre to be pragmatic in coal block allocation

Written by: Pti
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Bhubaneswar, Feb 16 (PTI) The Orissa government hassought a review of coal block allocation in the state andasked the Centre to adopt a pragmatic and planned approach inclearing such projects.

Orissa''s displeasure over coal block allocation bythe coal ministry was intimated to Prime Minister ManmohanSingh by Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik through a letter,officials said today.

Seeking a review of allocation of all coal blocks madeso far in the state, Patnaik said clearance of such projectsneeded to be done through a high level committee with a stategovernment representative as a member.�

With the objective of increasing coal production capacityin the country, the ministry had meanwhile allocated 32 coalblocks to 56 companies, with a total coal reserve of about15,000 million tonne in two coal fields in the state.�

While Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) was presentlyengaged in development of coal-projects over 140 sq km area inTalcher and IB Valley areas, the ministry had allowed 32 coalblocks to 54 companies to explore coal over 325 sq km area,Patnaik said.

An additional land of an equivalent area would also beneeded for other related activities like Coal handling plants,siding, workshop, residential colonies for project-affectedpeople, compensatory afforestation and other infrastructuralfacilities like rail and road connectivity, he said.

He said such a large scale development of coal minesin environmentally sensitive areas would require aComprehensive Regional Master Plan (CRMP) for development ofgreenfield coal blocks.

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