State-owned CIL’s 10 coal mining projects have so far been given a green light for expansion, which would lead to an additional 9.65 million tonnes of capacity, parliament informed on Monday.
The government had earlier relaxed standards for coal mine expansion following supply shortages during the summer months.
Responding to a question to Rajya Sahba, Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi said that out of the 10 projects of Coal India Ltd (CIL), three are in Odisha, two in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and one in Chhattisgarh.
While in five coal mine expansion projects the environmental clearances (EC) were granted in May, in the other five cases the green light was given in July.
While granting CE to these projects, which fall within and outside the severely polluted area, additional environmental safeguards have been provided under the CE condition.
In order to increase coal production to meet India’s energy needs, the Ministry of Coal had asked the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to consider expanding the mine without public consultation until at 50% of its production capacity.
The Center had issued a desk memorandum on May 7, ”regarding special waiver for Environmental Clearance (EC) review of 40-50% expansion in coal mining projects, on premises existing / mining lease area, without additional land acquisition. ”This special waiver was granted only to mines that have already obtained a 40% waiver based on previous reforms, Joshi said.
Coal India accounts for over 80% of national coal production.
Coal Secretary AK Jain had previously blamed the energy crisis of the summer months on the sharp decline in electricity generation from different fuel sources and not on the non-availability of domestic coal.