Coal secretary also said that since the IMG on coal blocks will be required to assess the situation with regard to grant of FC within a reasonable time period, it is considered necessary to co-opt a representative of MoEF on the panel

The coal ministry has asked the environment ministry to assess the feasibility of grant of forest clearances (stage II) with regard to 10 coal blocks allocated to companies like Hindalco, JSPL, Tata Steel and Essar Power and send its comments by this week.

Ministry will wait further before deciding on 30 others

Acting on the recommendations of the Inter-Ministerial Group (IMG), the Coal Ministry is likely to issue formal orders for cancellation of 29 captive coal blocks belonging to Hindalco, Tata Power, Jindal Steel and Power and Essar Power, among others.

The ancient forests of Mahan in Madhya Pradesh consisting of virgin sal trees covers an area of over five square miles.

While the ministry of environment and forests on Thursday gave the Mahan coal block in Madhya Pradesh’s Singrauli fields a final clearance (stage II), allottees of the block — the London-listed Ess

The government has granted environment clearance for as many as 12 coal mines in the past two months.

The ministry of environment and forests, after scrutinising conditions fulfilled, has issued the approvals, some of which include forest clearances, for about 10-12 mine blocks over the past two months, sources said.

An inter-ministerial group (IMG) tasked with suggesting punitive measures for allottees idling their captive coal blocks is learnt to have recommended cancellation of 30 mines, making it the single

Hindalco’s Mahan coal block, along with some blocks of Tata Steel, Jindal Steel and Power and Reliance Power could be cancelled by an inter-ministerial group, which will meet on Friday. The cancellations would figure as part of the list of 61 blocks that were allocated to companies between 2005 and 2008.

Significantly, the cancellation for Mahan, if it happens, would be after it has got a go-ahead from the ministry of environment and forests recently. Aditya Birla Group company Hindalco and Ruia’s Essar have plans to develop the block jointly.

Essar Group, Hindalco, Reliance Power and NTPC may come under the radar of a panel constituted by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), which will determine if the coal and thermal projects run by the

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) in a meeting on Thursday is likely to modify its directions on 61 coal blocks, which have been issued notices for not starting production.

Last week, after Greenpeace activists targeted the Essar offices here and in London on the issue of environmental damage at Mahan in Madhya Pradesh, the Ruia-owned group slapped a Rs 500-crore defamation suit (Rs 1,000-crore suit, says Greenpeace) against the global pro-environment group in the high court (HC) here.

Even as companies take legal steps against environmental groups, chief executives say they realise the importance of the concerns raised by environmental groups; they insist they have taken initiatives themselves, too, in the area.

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