Govt to form panel to expedite environment, forest clearances

The panel, expected to be formed by September this year, will look at expediting land acquisition, environment and forest clearances.

The Coal Ministry would consult with state governments and key ministers for the formation of the committee by June, the Coal Ministry said.

"MoC (the Ministry of Coal) will take up with state governments and key ministers concerned for formation of inter-ministerial committee ... by June 30, 2011," it said.

The Committee, to be formed under the chairmanship of Additional Secretary (Ministry of Coal), will hold meeting thrice in a year, it said.

A total of 154 projects with a production potential of about 210 million tonnes (MT) of the world's top coal miner Coal India are awaiting various environment and forest clearances.
Of these, 105 are awaiting stage one clearance while the remaining for stage two nod.

Stage one approval for diversion of forest land by the user agency is granted after compliance of certain stipulations like impact assessment on the area. While state two is final clearance.

In December last year, the Coal Ministry had expressed concern that delays in the grant of environment clearance to Coal India were likely to result in a production loss of about 190 million tonnes of output, valued at about Rs 18,800 crore, by March, 2012.

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