New Delhi: The Planning Commission has circulated a draft Cabinet note seeking directions to various ministries for ensuring timely implementation of the recommendations of an inter-ministerial panel on environmental issues related to coal mining.

Acute coal shortage in the country is affecting various sectors, including power.

“The approval of the Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) is sought for further directions to the concerned ministries for timely implementation of the Group of Ministers (GoM) recommendations,” said a source.

The CCI’s approval is also sought for “action by the respective ministries on the recommendation where no action has been initiated so far”.

Among other things, the GoM had earlier recommended the construction of NTPC’s North Karanpura Super Thermal Power Plant at the present site.

With regard to all such forests which can never be regenerated to the desired quality, the GoM had suggested a committee to identify such forests.

The committee was set up under the Secretary MoEF (Ministry of Environment and Forests) to formulate objective parameters for identification of “inviolate forest areas and come up with a policy ” on the same.

The Environment Ministry has constituted a committee and circulated a draft report (on inviolate areas), said the source, adding, that “the final report, is yet to be finalised”.

The source further said that the Coal Ministry had earlier placed a proposal before CCI for making available more coal bearing areas to enhance coal production. The note highlighted delays in obtaining forest and environmental clearance, land acquisition and other issues.

While considering the note on January 13, 2011, the then Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure directed that all pertinent issues, in the first instance, be considered by the Group of Ministers and thereafter, the matter may be brought before the notice of the CCI.

A GoM was set up in February 2011 to sort out the environmental issues affecting coal production.

The GoM was mandated to consider all issues relating to reconciliation of environmental concerns emanating from various developmental activities including those related to infrastructure and mining.

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