The newly-formed Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) is likely to approve automatic extension of environment clearances when it meets on Thursday, sources said. The move will not only do away with the tedious process of environment and forest clearance, but also free up over 65 million tonne (MT) additional coal annually, according to sources.

Last year, the environment ministry had made it mandatory for companies setting up projects to obtain forest clearance (FC) before applying for environment clearance (EC), where diversion of forest land is required. The guideline was later modified, allowing parallel processing for both EC and FC.

Aims to maximise realisation to meet Rs 30,000-cr target FinMin to meet ministries this week

To maximise realisations from stake sale in two companies in its disinvestment pipeline — Oil India Ltd (OIL) and NTPC — the government has planned to sort out some of the issues before launching offer for sale (OFS). The stake sale in the two companies is critical to meeting the government’s Rs 30,000-crore disinvestment target for the current financial year, as the government has managed to garner only about Rs 6,900 crore so far.

The world's largest coal-based power plant is struggling to survive at the back of pricing problems

On Monday, a high-level inter-ministerial panel will take a call on fuel supply for Adani Power’s Rs 25,000-crore imported coal-based power plant at Mundra in Gujarat. The infrastructure and mining major had asked the government to review an earlier decision to cut off domestic coal supply for the flagship 4,620 megawatt (Mw) project. The world’s largest coal-based power plant is already struggling to survive at the back of pricing problems.

Deadline for accepting the package extended by three months

At least six states have agreed to subscribe to the Centre’s debt restructuring plan for power distribution companies. The deadline for states to opt for the package has been extended by three months and would now end on March 31. The three-month period would be used to accommodate agreements by more states and ensure consensus building among stakeholders. Once accepted by all states, the Rs 1.9-lakh-crore package is expected to bail out financially-stressed distribution companies and usher in long-pending reforms in the power sector.

Environment ministry had exempted some mining projects from public hearings

The environment ministry’s latest relaxation of green norms for expansion of projects in the mining sector is set to lead to an annual rise of 45 million tonnes (mt) in Coal India Ltd’s (CIL) production. In a notification issued last month, the ministry had exempted all mining projects seeking capacity expansion of up to 25 per cent from local public hearings. The move is aimed at reducing delays in green clearances.

Company's operating capacity reaches 1,840 Mw

Reliance Power Ltd (RPL) today announced it has commissioned the second 300 Megawatt (Mw) unit of its Butibori power plant at Nagpur in Maharashtra. This will help ease power availability for industrial units and distribution utilities in the power-starved state. The first 300 Mw unit of the project was commissioned in August this year. With the coming of the second unit on-stream, the total operating capacity of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) subsidiary has reached 1,840 Mw.

To invest over Rs 16,000 cr in state grid

Powergrid Corporation of India Ltd (PGCIL), India's largest power transmission utility, announced it would invest Rs 16,300 crore in two phases in Bihar to ramp up the electricity grid system of the state. The investment would be done through a new Joint Venture (JV) company between PGCIL and Bihar State Power Holding Company Ltd (BSPHCL) called Bihar Power Grid Company Ltd.

These utilities account for 51% of India's coal-based power capacity

More than half the country’s coal-based power-generation capacity has been running on less than seven days’ fuel supply, power ministry data reveal. The latest numbers showed 34 of India’s 90 power stations were running on critical coal stocks — sufficient to sustain operations for less than seven days — as on Wednesday. These 34 stations account for 50,047 Mw of the country’s total 97,920-Mw power capacity (51 per cent).

Take less than 2 mt of the 30 mt offered by CIL

Even as power companies have been complaining about a severe fuel shortage, they have failed to lift the extra coal offered to them by Coal India Ltd (CIL) from its stocks as emergency relief on the government’s instruction. Experts say the companies could be using the inflated perception of coal shortage to create grounds for price pooling, to source imported coal at cheaper rates.

Ahead of the second meeting of a ministerial panel to give final shape to the Coal Regulatory Authority Bill on Tuesday, the coal ministry has proposed that coal producers can determine the price of the commodity. However, the proposed coal regulator should decide the methodology to fix prices to check abuse of monopoly by any coal producer, the ministry said.

The coal ministry has also rolled back a crucial proposal to give power of authorisation in grant of leases to the regulator.