The coal ministry has asked the environment ministry to assess the feasibility of grant of forest clearances (stage II) with regard to 10 coal blocks allocated to companies like Hindalco, JSPL, Tata Steel and Essar Power and send its comments by this week.
"I shall be grateful if detailed comments of MoEF (Ministry of Environment and Forests) on the cases (10 coal blocks) are forwarded to us which may include the assessment of MoEF with regard to feasibility of grant of FC (Forest Clearance) stage II within a reasonable period," Coal Secretary S K Srivastava said in a letter dated February 12 to MoEF Secretary V Rajgopalan.
The 10 coal blocks where stage II FC are pending are Jitpur coal block alloted to Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, Mahan mine of Essar Power and Hindalco, Ganeshpur coal block jointly alloted to Tata Steel and Adhunik Thermal Energy, Brinda and Sasai coal blocks allocated to Abhijeet Infrastructure and Moitra coal block alloted to Jayaswal Neco Ltd, among others.
"In view of the deadlines...It is requested that the comments of MoEF may be kindly sent within February 22, 2014," the letter said.
The coal secretary further said that since the inter ministerial group (IMG) on coal blocks would be required to assess the situation with regard to grant of FC within a reasonable time period, it is considered necessary to co-opt a representative of MoEF on the panel.
"I would, therefore, also request you to nominate a senior representative of MoEF when IMG considers these cases," he said.
IMG, set up under the chairmanship of Additional Secretary, Coal, to review the progress of development of captive coal blocks alloted to private companies, had recently recommended deallocation of 29 coal blocks.
The IMG has members from various ministries, including steel and power.