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PM calls a meeting to resolve environment issues

delhi Updated: May 11, 2011 19:21 IST

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Worried that differences within the government may hamper growth, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called a meeting of ministers for environment, coal, power and finance to resolve the environment-related issues.

The meeting of four ministers along with Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia has been convened on May 16, coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said on Wednesday.

"Prime Minister has shown serious concern....that the country's growth should not be hampered and at the same time issues raised by the ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) are resolved," Jaiswal told reporters in New Delhi.

The Group of Ministers, headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee is already on the job to find a common ground between the MoEF on the one hand and coal, power and steel on the other.

The main issue of dispute relates to the 'go' and 'no-go' areas for coal mining.

The MoEF has put 203 coal blocks under 'no go' mining zone, which as per Coal Ministry has affected potential production of 660 million tonnes of coal per annum.

The MoEF has stopped giving clearances for no-go areas on the ground that it would destroy forests.

However, the ministers for coal, power and steel want relaxation of the green norms, arguing that their strict enforcement would hurt energy generation and economic growth.

The government is keen that the country should achieve an annual GDP growth of 9-9.5% for which additional power of 75,000-1,00,000 MW would be required during the 12th plan period. Most of the power generation in India is based on coal feedstock.