'Go' and 'no go' areas in iron ore mining soon: Ramesh

He was speaking at a national workshop on "Reforms in Environmental Regulation" yesterday where he underlined the need to ensure developmental activities while protecting ecological concerns.

"We would soon extend the exercise of identifying 'go' and 'no go' areas in iron ore sector too which is going to face massive extraction," he added.
Ramesh pointed that a joint study by the Environment and Coal ministries has found that as much as 35 per cent of coal mining areas across the country are located in 'no go' zones, where environmental clearances cannot be given.

A 'no go' zone is a densely forested area where mining will not be allowed at any cost.
"Thirty-five per cent of coal mining areas fall in "no go areas" where mining will not be allowed. There are nine major blocks of coal mines in these areas surrounded by dense forests in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh," he said.
But even in the 'go' areas, projects will have to go through the due environmental and forest clearance process before being approved.

"Go does not mean green signal. 'Go' area prima facie means that the ministry will only consider the proposal for approval or rejection. It is possible that a mine in a 'go' area after inspection turns out to be a 'no-go' mine," the minister said.
The minister also hoped that the clean energy cess of Rs 50 a metric ton to be imposed on domestic and imported coal ensuring corpus of about Rs 25 billion would be used for cleaning up pollution-emitting industrial clusters in the country.

He dismissed suggestions that the tax was meant to restrict use of the important fossil fuel, coal, and said instead it was aimed at better usage.

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