Coal mines to expand 50% without environment impact assessment
COAL & MINING

Coal mines to expand 50% without environment impact assessment

The Ministry of Environment has relaxed the mandatory compliance norms for coal mining expansion projects due to higher demand for coal amid an ongoing power crisis.

This initiative has been criticised by environmentalists, especially after the Ministry of Coal has said there is no shortage of coal in India.

As per the revised norms, coal mines with environmental clearances (EC) to expand by 40% can now grow up to 50% without any environmental impact assessment or public consultation.

In an office memorandum (OM), the Ministry of Environment said that the change was made after the coal ministry raised notice regarding pressure on domestic coal supply.

As per the OM, the ministry received a request from the coal ministry stating the pressure on domestic coal supply in the country, and all efforts are being made to meet the demand for coal for all the sectors.

It has been requested that existing coal blocks should be allowed for production capacity expansion keeping in view the available reserves in the coal block and compliance with the conditions of the previous EC.

The ministry said that the special dispensation is being provided for six months from the issuing of the OM.

The coal ministry has clarified that the ongoing power crisis was not because of the coal shortage but of non-payment of dues to Coal India Limited (CIL) by the states, delays in lifting coal, and poor planning.

The environment ministry exempted the coal mining projects expansion of up to 40% in two to three phases from the public hearing. In April, the ministry issued another OM stating that a public hearing was exempted for up to 50% expansion in stages.

According to the latest OM, about 50% expansion of coal mines has been exempted from public consultation, environment impact assessment and submission of the environmental management plan.

According to an official, the changes will address the current coal crisis and release the pressure created by the coal shortage. Currently, only 11 mines need to expand to up to 50%.

The environment ministry’s forest conservation division has allowed mining leases which were cancelled or terminated to the new leaseholders still under consideration by states or the central government without applying for new forest clearance.

The Karnataka government had sought clearance from the centre on whether the cancelled leases for transferring forest clearance could be transferred to the new leaseholders.

The environment ministry addressed the principal chief conservator of forests of all states and Union Territories (UTs) and clarified that expired or terminated mines could be given to new leaseholders.

Last year, the ministry issued guidelines on transferring forest clearances of expired mining leases to facilitate the smooth handover of mines currently being auctioned in states, including Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

Now, mines in Goa and Karnataka, with cancelled leases by the Supreme Court, can restart mining.

The Goa government issued notices to 88 iron ore mines, whose leases were cancelled by the Supreme Court in 2018, to remove their machinery and equipment from the coal mines.

After the state government takes control of the mines, it can restart mining under the newly issued rules. The government has given one month to the leaseholders to vacate.

Image Source

Also read: Govt approves policy to use coal mines land for infrastructure

The Ministry of Environment has relaxed the mandatory compliance norms for coal mining expansion projects due to higher demand for coal amid an ongoing power crisis. This initiative has been criticised by environmentalists, especially after the Ministry of Coal has said there is no shortage of coal in India. As per the revised norms, coal mines with environmental clearances (EC) to expand by 40% can now grow up to 50% without any environmental impact assessment or public consultation. In an office memorandum (OM), the Ministry of Environment said that the change was made after the coal ministry raised notice regarding pressure on domestic coal supply. As per the OM, the ministry received a request from the coal ministry stating the pressure on domestic coal supply in the country, and all efforts are being made to meet the demand for coal for all the sectors. It has been requested that existing coal blocks should be allowed for production capacity expansion keeping in view the available reserves in the coal block and compliance with the conditions of the previous EC. The ministry said that the special dispensation is being provided for six months from the issuing of the OM. The coal ministry has clarified that the ongoing power crisis was not because of the coal shortage but of non-payment of dues to Coal India Limited (CIL) by the states, delays in lifting coal, and poor planning. The environment ministry exempted the coal mining projects expansion of up to 40% in two to three phases from the public hearing. In April, the ministry issued another OM stating that a public hearing was exempted for up to 50% expansion in stages. According to the latest OM, about 50% expansion of coal mines has been exempted from public consultation, environment impact assessment and submission of the environmental management plan. According to an official, the changes will address the current coal crisis and release the pressure created by the coal shortage. Currently, only 11 mines need to expand to up to 50%. The environment ministry’s forest conservation division has allowed mining leases which were cancelled or terminated to the new leaseholders still under consideration by states or the central government without applying for new forest clearance. The Karnataka government had sought clearance from the centre on whether the cancelled leases for transferring forest clearance could be transferred to the new leaseholders. The environment ministry addressed the principal chief conservator of forests of all states and Union Territories (UTs) and clarified that expired or terminated mines could be given to new leaseholders. Last year, the ministry issued guidelines on transferring forest clearances of expired mining leases to facilitate the smooth handover of mines currently being auctioned in states, including Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. Now, mines in Goa and Karnataka, with cancelled leases by the Supreme Court, can restart mining. The Goa government issued notices to 88 iron ore mines, whose leases were cancelled by the Supreme Court in 2018, to remove their machinery and equipment from the coal mines. After the state government takes control of the mines, it can restart mining under the newly issued rules. The government has given one month to the leaseholders to vacate. Image Source Also read: Govt approves policy to use coal mines land for infrastructure

Related Stories

Gold Stories

Hi There!

Now get regular updates from CW Magazine on WhatsApp!

Click on link below, message us with a simple hi, and SAVE our number

You will have subscribed to our Construction News on Whatsapp! Enjoy

+91 86574 75330

Join us Telegram

Reach out to us

Call us at +91 8108603000 or

Schedule a Call Back