GoM on Coal to meet on 14 July to address green hurdles

GoM on Coal to meet on 14 July to address green hurdles

New Delhi: The Group of Ministers (GoM) on Coal is likely to meet for the fourth time on 14 July instead of 2 July to try and resolve issues hurting the production of coal in the country amid an ever-widening demand and supply gap, which is expected to reach 137 million tonnes in 2011-12.

“The next meeting of GoM is likely to be held on 14 July instead of 2 July," an official in the coal ministry said.

Six coal projects allotted to firms like ADAG, Essar, and the Aditya Birla Group for fuelling their thermal power plants, which have been stalled due to pending environmental approvals, are likely to be discussed in the upcoming meeting.

The coal blocks that are likely to come up for discussion are the Mahan and Chhatrasal blocks in Madhya Pradesh, Morga-II and Parsa in Chhattisgarh and Ashok Karkata and Chakla in Jharkhand, sources had said.

The issue of the exact location of NTPC’s 1,980-MW thermal power project in Jharkhand is also expected to come up for consideration in the upcoming meeting.

Due to shortage of time, the issue of the North Karanpura STPP (Super Thermal Power Project) could not be discussed in the third meeting of the GoM, as per the minutes of the third meeting of GoM.

The GoM was constituted in February this year to sort out tussles between ministries on the environmental norms affecting projects, especially in the coal sector.

The 12-member GoM has met thrice in February, April and June, as of now but could not reach any consensus.

The ministry of environment and forest in 2009 had categorised 203 coal blocks as ‘no go´ mining zones. The output from these 203 blocks can generate around 1.3 lakh MW of power per annum as per the estimates of the Coal Ministry.

The coal ministry has been demanding permission to mine at least 90% of these 203 blocks to meet the ever-widening demand-supply gap for the dry fuel. The shortage of coal is likely to reach 200 million tonnes by 2016-17.