New Delhi: Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal on Tuesday said the group of ministers (GoM) is likely to meet for the second time early next month to sort out issues related to coal mining in no-go areas, as classified by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).
“The second meeting of the group of ministers is likely to take place either on 7 or 8 April,” Jaiswal said after Mozambique’s Mineral Resource Minister Esperenca Bias met him at his office.
Both MoEF and Coal Ministries, which first met in February, had decided to meet again during the second week of this month. However, the meeting then got deferred.
Jaiswal today said the Coal Ministry has requested the government of Mozambique to allocate more coal blocks to India.
“We have requested for allotting a few more coal blocks ...the response of Mozambique government is good,” Jaiswal said.
Both the ministers also discussed the location of the proposed two institutes in the African nation for planning and manpower training in the area of mining, with an investment of about Rs90 crore.
Meanwhile, in the first meeting of GoM held last month, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had assured the coal ministry that he will be “positive” towards infrastructure projects and soon lift moratorium on 25 no-go areas, falling under forest cover.
Ramesh had said his Ministry had already lifted moratorium on 13 areas, categorised as ‘critically polluted´ under Comprehensive Environment Pollution Index (CEPI).
The 12-member GoM comprising among others, Jaiswal, Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, met in the backdrop of various controversies, mainly over “go” and “no go” areas in coal mines.
The ‘no-go´ classification by Environment Ministry in 2009 had disallowed mining in 203 blocks with the potential of producing 660 million tonnes of coal a year. According to Coal Ministry estimates, the output from these blocks could have been used to generate around 1.3 lakh MW of power per annum.