New Delhi: Coal India’s production growth is likely to nosedive to less than 1% in the current financial year compared to the projected growth of about 7%, as a number of its projects have been hit by environmental concerns, a top Coal India official has said.
State-owned CIL has set a production target of about 460 million tonnes (MT) for this fiscal.
“Due to ‘no-go´ classification by the environment ministry, several CIL projects are lying stranded. The production growth, as compared to the last fiscal is likely to be almost nil this fiscal,” a Coal India official said.
In the year 2010-11, CIL’s coal output, which accounts for over 80% of the domestic production, is expected to be almost the same as 2009-10 fiscal years’ 431.26 MT.
CIL’s 2009-10 coal output was 7% more than the previous fiscal.
In 2008-09 CIL’s production stood at 403 MT.
Talking about the decline in production, CIL’s former chairman Partha S Bhattacharyya, who retired on 28 February, said: “Coal production has taken a dip due to non clearance of projects and no go classification, which has affected many a projects of the company.”
Coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal in February had said that the growth rate has already declined to less than 2% on account of environmental concerns.
“We are trying our best that we restore it to 7% again in the next fiscal,” he had said.
Ministry of forest and environment (MoEF) has put 203 coal blocks with a potential output of 660 million tonnes per annum in nine coalfields under the ‘no go´ mining zone.
Besides, as many as 154 projects of CIL are stalled due to delay in environmental and forest clearances at the Centre and state level.
The government has already constituted a 12-member ministerial panel, headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee to address the issues hurting coal production. The group of ministers which has already met once is likely to meet again in March.
The Coal ministry, meanwhile, has said that 23 CIL projects, falling under areas categorised as ‘critically polluted´ under Comprehensive Environment Pollution Index (CEPI) by the MoEF, were likely to get the green signal.
CEPI captures the various health dimensions of the environment and acts as a warning tool to facilitate early intervention.