India’s largest producer of coal – Coal of India (CIL) is facing a possible shortfall in meeting this financial years production target of 435 million tonnes, due to delays in obtaining environmental clearances.
CIL has also revised its production target for 2011-2012 to 486 million tonnes down from 520 million tonnes.
Representatives from India’s Environment Ministry and CIL are due to meet this month when the issue will be addressed.
“CIL is facing problems in meeting its production targets for the fiscal but I am hopeful that output would surge in the current quarter,” said Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal was quoted while attending a seminar.
“We are due to meet this month,” said India’s Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh. “I will take up issues like delays in granting environment clearances to projects of Coal India Ltd.,” he added.
In the last meeting between the two ministers, Ramesh had agreed to grant environment clearances to some of CIL’s expansion projects without undertaking public hearings, which involve meeting of all stakeholders to map out a strategy for minimising damage to the environment.
The coal ministry is also seeking cooperation from state governments for “timely acquisition of land for coal projects and resolve the issue of rehabilitation of project-affected persons in a mutually agreeable manner.”
As many as 17 projects involving production of 101 million tonnes were delayed due to the long wait in getting clearances from the environment and forest ministry.
Lower production of coal could have a spiral effect on end users, especially power firms let by state run NTPC, whose production is primarily dependent on coal supplied by CIL.