8 more CIL coal projects get green signal

Posted By: Pti
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New Delhi, Feb 21 (PTI) After wrangling with the coalministry over green concerns, the environment ministry hascleared eight more CIL projects that have been stalled forabout a year.

The development comes close on the heels of EnvironmentMinister Jairam Ramesh softening his stance on "no go" statusfor coal blocks falling in environmentally sensitive areasduring the meeting of a Group of Ministers (GoM) on Coal lastweek, where he assured that he will be "positive" towardsinfrastructure projects.

"Jairam Ramesh met me in the morning today and said thathis ministry has approved Coal India Ltd''s (CIL) 7-8 strandedprojects," Jaiswal told PTI in an interview.

As per information, out of the seven to eight projectsgiven the green signal by the Environment Ministry, four aresituated in Orissa -- namely the Vasundhara West, Samleswari,HBI and Delhpai projects.

"Ramesh has also assured me to clear some moreprojects," he said.

Jaiswal exuded confidence that the Ramesh-led ministrywill soon sort out issues hurting coal production, adding,"Even before the GoM, 14-15 of our projects have beenapproved."

Earlier this month, the Coal Ministry had said that 15 ofCoal India Ltd''s (CIL) projects that have been waiting forenvironmental clearance were likely to get the green signal inanother two months.

The projects could not get clearance as the area underwhich they fell were categorised as ''critically polluted''under the Comprehensive Environment Pollution Index (CEPI).

CEPI captures the various health dimensions of theenvironment and acts as a warning tool to facilitate earlyintervention.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had last month asked theMoEF to revisit projects that were barred under CEPI.

Subsequently, Ramesh said last week that the moratorium willsoon be lifted in 25 areas, adding that restrictions in 13areas have already been lifted.

Meanwhile, a total of 154 projects of the world''s topcoal miner, with a production potential of about 210 milliontonnes (MT), are awaiting various environment and forestclearances and the issue has already been discussed by boththe ministries, Jaiswal said.

The coal and environment ministries have been atloggerheads for over a year after mining was disallowed in 203blocks classified as ''no-go'' zones in 2009, stalling projectswith a production potential of 660 million tonnes of coal ayear. .

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