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Jairam's note: PM seeks clarification

Prime Minister's Office has sought clarification from the coal and power ministries on environment minister Jairam Ramesh's note blaming the two ministries for degrading Indian forests.

delhi Updated: Jun 26, 2011 22:59 IST
Chetan Chauhan

Prime Minister's Office has sought clarification from the coal and power ministries on environment minister Jairam Ramesh's note blaming the two ministries for degrading Indian forests.

Ramesh's note to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh comes in wake of coal and power ministries blaming him for failing to meet their production targets and is part of the ongoing slinging match going on between the UPA ministers.

Coal production in first four years of the 11th plan had been around 6.2 % as against the target of 9.5 % whereas the power generation had been only 63 % of the target for the plan period.

Instead of taking the blame, Ramesh told the Prime Minister that the two ministries have failed to deliver and also caused ecological loss.

He even spoke to Railway Board chairman Vivek Sahai to counter coal ministry's claim that railways was not providing enough rakes to lift coal from pitheads. As a result, unlifted coal at pitheads was 70 million tones in 2010-11. Sahai told him that railways had to lift 40 % of the coal production which it was doing without fail.

Ramesh also raised the issue of two lakh hectares of forestland lying, which Coal India had failed to return to the state government despite closure of the coal mines. He also questioned the company's claim on compensatory afforestation saying it was not up to the mark.

Hitting at the power ministry, Ramesh, in his two page note, said huge amount of flyash -- half of the total coal burnt -- being generated by the thermal power plants was causing environmental problems.

Around 40 % of the total land for a thermal power plant is required to store flyash in special ponds and it was an issue of concern, Ramesh wrote.

The PMO before the next Group of Ministers meeting on environmental issues on July 14 has sought replies of coal and power ministry and has asked planning commission member B K Chaturvedi to submit a note on the same.