COAL THREAT TO TIGER HABITAT - 20th Sept. 2011

A ministerial panel on coal is likely to consider allocation of alternate blocks to Adani Group for its proposed 1,980-MW power plant in Maharashtra.

The Group of Ministers (GoM) on coal may also take up the issue of relocation of NTPC's 1,980-MW thermal power project in Jharkhand, besides deliberating on issues hurting coal production, a coal ministry official said.

"One of the issues on the agenda for tomorrow's meeting would be allotment of alternate coal block to Adani Group in lieu of Lohara West and Lohara Extension coal blocks," the official said. Fearing damage to the habitat, the Ministry of Forest and Environment (MoEF) in January, 2010, had denied permission to Adani group for mining at Lohara blocks near Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) alloted to it by Coal Ministry.

Adani Power had planned to source coal from Lohara for its 1,980 mw project in Gondai district. But MoEF had denied enviornment clearance. Former Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had said that "there will be no review and no reconsideration" in the matter.

Besides, the official said that GoM headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee may also take up the matter of block allotment to Essar and ADAG.

NTPC's Rs 8,000-crore project has been hanging fire for almost a decade due to controversy over its location. The Coal Ministry has been demanding relocation saying that the project site is situated above an estimated 6 billion tonnes of coal reserves.
GoM on coal was formed in February this year at the behest of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to try and resolve issues hurting coal output in the country, amid an ever-widening demand-supply gap which is likely to touch 137 million tonnes (MT) in the current fiscal.

Coal and Environment Ministries had locked horns after the latter put 203 coal blocks in 'no mining zone' which as per the former affected a potential production to the tune of 660 MT.

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