Supply crunch: Coal mine expansion norms eased
New Delhi, May 13: The Union Environment Ministry relaxed the mandatory compliance norms of coal mining expansion projects while citing a higher demand for coal amidst the ongoing power crisis.
According to the revised norms, coal mines with environmental clearances (EC) to expand by 40 per cent can now expand up to 50 per cent. This could be done without any environment impact assessment or public consultation.
The ministry in an office memorandum (OM) dated May 7 said that the change was made after the coal ministry raised an alarm on the pressure on the domestic coal supply, a Hindustan Times report said.
"The ministry is in receipt of a request from the ministry of coal stating that there is huge pressure on domestic coal supply in the country and all efforts are being made to meet the demand of coal for all sectors," the OM said.
The OM also said it has been requested that existing coal blocks should be allowed for expansion of production capacity keeping in view the available reserves in the coal block and compliance of the conditions of the previous EC.
Considering the exigency that has arisen, it has been decided, as a special dispensation, that those coal mining projects which have been granted expansion of EC up to 40% of the original EC capacity as per provisions of earlier OMs, shall be granted expansion EC to increase their production capacity to 50% of original EC capacity, the HT report while citing the OM said. This is on condition that the mining continues to be in the same lease area and available coal reserves, it further added.