The Coal Ministry has asked Coal India (CIL) to prepare a detailed note on ways to fast-track extraction of coal from its mines which are explored and have got green clearance.
The development comes at a time when the country is facing acute coal shortages. "Coal India was directed that a detailed note may be prepared and sent to this ministry (Coal)...This is under process," a source close to the development said.
The source further said that the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had in September, 2013 decided that coal ministry will separately examine how extraction of coal from the mines from the explored and environmentally cleared blocks held by CIL could be expedited and "bring an appropriate note for the consideration of the committee at an early date."
State-owned Coal India (CIL) is awaiting environment and forestry clearances pertaining to its 241 projects.
At present, 48 environmental clearance proposals, having a capacity of about 109 million tonnes per annum (MTPA), are awaiting clearances at different levels.
Moreover, 193 forestry proposals are awaiting clearances either at environment ministry or at the state levels. The Ministry of Coal had in 2012 alloted 116 blocks to CIL. In addition, it was alloted three de-allocated mines -- Brahmini, Chchro Pastimal and East of Damogoria.
The state-owned firm had asked for 138 mines in 2008 in order to reverse the declining trend of production and to augment output.
The maharatna firm had earlier expressed hope that it can start mining by 2014 in 13 of the 119 blocks allotted to it.
The coal PSU which accounts for over 80 % of the domestic coal production has been missing annual production targets in the last few years. It had produced 462 million tonnes (MT) coal in 2013-14 fiscal, missing the target of 482 MT.
In 2012-13, the company produced 452.5 million tonnes of coal, short of the 464 MT target.