The country's domestic coal production target could not be achieved in 2010-11 mainly on account of environment ministry not allowing the expansion of projects falling in areas categorised as critically polluted under CEPI, Parliament was informed today.
Comprehensive Environment Pollution Index (CEPI) captures the various health dimensions of the environment and acts as a warning tool to facilitate early intervention.
"The major cause of missing the target... Is the moratorium imposed by Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF)... For taking new expansion projects in areas having...CEPI above 70, which included 7 major coalfield of CIL," Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
The Minister, however, said the moratorium has been lifted in five areas. "The remaining two coalfields are Korba and Chandrapur," Jaiswal added.
The other reasons for lower coal production have been the law and order problems in Jharkhand and Orissa, excessive rains and non-finalisation of a few contracts related to production because of court litigation.
The minister said a number of steps are being taken by Coal India, which accounts for more than 80 per cent of the domestic coal production, to augment output.
This is through capacity addition from new and future projects besides consistent efforts for resolving issues of environmental and forestry clearances.
"With a view to resolve these problems, the ministry of Coal has taken steps to expedite environment and forestry clearances, pursue with ministry of railways for enhancing availability of rail rakes and approach state governments for necessary assistance in matters relating to land acquisition," Jaiswal said.
In 2009, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) had introduced the CEPI to categorise the environmental quality at given locations and conducted a nation-wide assessment of industrial clusters.
Coal India missed its output target and produced 431.33 million tonnes (MT) of coal in 2010-11 against the revised target of 440.20 MT.