Egged by environment minister Jairam Ramesh, the coal minister Shriprakash Jaiswal on Tuesday told Coal India officials that action will be taken against them if they fail to meet the targets.
Ramesh in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said that over 50 million tones of coal has accumulated at the coal pitheads for want of adequate evacuation facilities, for which his ministry cannot be blamed.
Coal minister has blamed delay in getting environment and forest clearances for the sector not been able to meet its annual production target of 452 million tones.
"Wanting to be of help, I pointedly asked the coal minister whether MoEF is responsible for this situation," Ramesh told the PM, in his letter. Jaiswal told Ramesh that lack of rail facilities was a reason for that the coal could not be lifted.
The Coal minister told officials of Coal India and its subsidiaries that there should be full evacuation and transport of coal from the pitheads. "Coal should reach the consumers in time...it is duty of Chairman and Managing directors to ensure that it happens," he told them.
Addressing another issue raised by Ramesh at a recent Group of Minister's meeting, Jaiswal told officials to come out with a new attractive relief and rehabilitation package for those affected by coal mining, which covers all aspects of dealing with poverty near coal mining areas. A committee headed by coal secretary will be set up to revise the R&R package.
Ramesh has told the GoM that the Coal India had a poor track record in relief and rehabilitation. "This has led to the district magistrates not issuing no objection certificate for revenue forest land, delay in Forest Rights Act compliance and acrimony at public hearings for environmental clearances," the minister said, in his presentation to the GoM.
The coal minister has also made the CMD sole responsible for getting the no objection certificates from the district magistrates and said that any "laxity" will not be tolerated. "If you (CMDs) fail to meet the targets you will be taken to task," Jaiswal told them.
Ramesh had made a scathing attack on Coal India at the recent GoM blaming it for delay in getting environment and forest clearances, rather than his ministry and cited specific instances where the country's one of the richest public sector undertaking has failed.