New Delhi, July 7 (IANS) The environment minister has agreed to increase the ‘go area’, or forest area where coal mining is allowed in nine collieries in the country provided they meet the environment clearance.
The environment ministry and the coal ministry have agreed to increase the ‘go area’ in nine coal fields from 344,000 hectares to 380,000 hectares, sources in the environment ministry said.
The coal ministry was unhappy with the environment ministry only marking 344,000 hectares as ‘go area’ while it had demanded 450,000 hectares.
Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal had sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s intervention following the ministry’s decision to declare 40 coal blocks under nine collieries as ‘no go area’.
Jaiswal, in a letter to Environment Minister Ramesh, had said that categorising coalfields into ‘go’ and ‘no go area’ by the ministry would result in a massive 600 million tonne annual shortfall in production.
‘The present 380,000 go area will have some underground mines also. We have problems with the open coal mining as it affects the environment,’ the sources said.