A compromise formula allowing coal extraction without much damage to dense forests is likely to be discussed in Thursday's Cabinet meeting to end the row between coal and environment ministry over "go" and "no-go" areas for mining.
After a joint exercise with the coal ministry, the environment ministry designated about 30% of 4,039 square km, which have 206 coal blocks, as “no-go” areas for coal mining. The coal ministry opposed the demarcation saying it would hamper India's economic growth as production capacity of 660 million tonnes will fall in no go areas.
The environment ministry insisted that the policy was a must to conserve India's forests, which is less than 30% of country's total forest and tree cover.
In the meantime, coal ministry circulated a note for consideration of Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure (CCI) seeking a policy direction that not more than 10% of forest area should be "no-go" for coal mining. Most ministries have supported the coal ministry view and Ramesh may find himself isolated on the issue at the Thursday's CCI meeting.