The Cabinet Committee on Investments is expected to take a view on Thursday on large number of coal projects pending because of delay in environment clearances.
There are about 25 major power projects which are stuck because of lack of coal linkages and around coal mining projects worth 69.6 million tonnes of Coal India Limited are stuck because of pending environment and forestry clearances.
Number of chief ministers has also written to Planning Commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia regarding hurdles in finding coal linkage to number of power plants. The plan panel is said to have suggested a fast tracking of the clearances to ensure that the target of additional generation of one lakh megawatt of power is not jeopardized.
Government officials said that the Cabinet committee would be deliberating on measures to expedite approval for coal mining projects across India and ask the environment ministry to give simultaneous approval to thermal power plants and linked coal mines.
The environment ministry is expected to tell the committee that it has initiated the process to clear 14 coal mining projects in different parts of India, which could lead to diversion of 3,617 hectares of forestland, in the next few months.
The ministry has already issued guidelines to allow up to 25 percent expansion of coal mining projects without a fresh environment or forest clearance if that does not require diversion of additional forest land.
The ministry has also said that many of the major thermal power plants have either been cleared by the expert appraisal committee of the ministry or is at the final stage of approval. Once that is done, the so-called delay in getting approvals would be resolved, an official said.
The committee is also expected to take stock of Coal India’s failing to meet the demand of coal for power generation resulting in many companies importing coal. The ways to improve extraction of coal from domestic mines is also expected to be discussed.