Power ministry asks for environment clearance for some coal mines

New Delhi, Oct 26 (Calcutta Tube) India’s power ministry has approached the environment ministry to allow functioning of some of the coal mines which fall under restricted areas and were dedicated to supply coal to power plants, an official said Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the annual Economic Editors’ Conference here, attended by some 300 journalists from across India, Power Secretary P. Uma Shankar said that about 10 projects, which were coal mines being developed by power developers fell under areas classified as ‘No Go’ by the Environment ministry.

‘We have told them that even though the coal mine allotted to them falls under the No Go area, these coal mines should be given forest clearance because the power developer has gone far ahead with the project, he has spent a lot of money on it,’ said Shankar.

A number of power projects and developing mines to supply coal to thermal plants have been put on the back burner with the ministry of environment and forests withholding permission to them.

‘If this is stopped the money spent will be wasted. We have also said this will affect capacity of Coal India to develop coal mines,’ he added.

The country will be able to add about 62,000 MW of generation capacity by 2012, falling short of the original target of 78,000 MW.

At the conference, Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said capacity addition had still not picked up speed, but would do so by the time the next plan began in 2012.

Shinde also said about half of the country’s new thermal power plants in the next plan (2012-17) would be supercritical units and such technology would be applied to all new projects in the 13th plan period.

‘Since coal will continue to dominate power generation in near future, installation of large size supercritical units is being encouraged with a view to have faster capacity addition and also to enhance efficiency,’ Shinde said.

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