Coal Min in talks with Environ Min to expedite forest clearance for coal blocks

New Delhi (NVI): Forest clearances for coal blocks are expected to get quicker as the Coal Ministry is in touch with the Ministry of Environment to reduce the time taken for operationalisation of the blocks, a top government official said today.

“Environment clearance has become much easier now. We are talking to the Ministry of Forest and are hopeful that in the next few months, the time taken to get forest clearance will be reduced,” said Anil Kumar Jain, Secretary, Ministry of Coal.

Jain was addressing ‘Stakeholders Consultation on Addressing Financing Perspective for Auction of Coal Mines for Commercial Mining,’ organized by FICCI, jointly with the Ministry of Coal.

He added that the government is constantly trying to reduce the time frame usually needed to get a coal mine operational.

Jain emphasized that if India needs to grow and meet the energy demands, then we must provide smooth facilitation to the industry. “The government works to provide you (industry) with solutions. We don’t intend to only auction the mines but also ensure that the production starts and that we develop a good market for it,” he added.

Assuring the industry of providing all support, Jain said, “We have changed the law, bidding policies and methodology to ensure that the import dependence is reduced. We are going to make sure that the promises made at the time of the bidding be fulfilled. We will be coming out with successive rounds for bidding.”

In order to further support the industry, Jain said that Indian Railways has reduced freight charges on long routes. “We are in touch with them to reduce freight charges for short routes as well,” he added.

M Nagaraju, Joint Secretary & Nominated Authority, Ministry of Coal, said that coal continues to play an important role in the energy mix of the country for the next 30 years. Highlighting the role of the private sector, he said that we will meet the needs of the private sector including the evacuation of coal.

“The auction of commercial coal mining will also support the Atmanirbhar Abhiyan of the government in reducing coal imports. We are trying to reduce import dependence on non-coking coal in the next few years. This will also help in saving foreign exchange and provide more employment opportunities,” Nagaraju added.

Prabodh Parikh, Deputy Managing Director, SBI appreciated many of the provisions created by the Ministry of Coal by amendment in the auction procedure, which will be suiting lenders.

Bhabani Prasad Pati, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Coal said that the commercial coal mining auction is paving the way for new talents in the sector and the role of FICCI is commendable in getting the industry together.

Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI said that opening of this sector will fulfil the Atmanirbhar Abhiyan and will help several other economic sectors.

-ARK