Coal panel in the works

Calcutta, Dec. 6: The coal ministry plans to set up a co-ordination committee involving all state governments to expedite mining projects that are stuck because of a delay in environment and forest clearances.

"We are thinking in terms of setting up a co-ordination committee along with the state governments," coal secretary S.K. Srivastava said at a CII-organised mining summit here today.

He said the Centre was aware of the issues pertaining to the clearance of mining projects and was in talks with the ministry of forest and environment as well as the state governments. "We are aware of the issues and we are going to address them. Clearances are going to be given in time."

As many as 182 projects of the Coal India are reportedly awaiting clearances both at the central and state levels.

Srivastava called for more private participation in Coal India's operations through the mine developers and operators (MDO) model, under which the state-owned miner can share the production cost with the private sector.

"Coal India should move towards the MDO approach and we are already in talks with the finance ministry to refine the bidding agreements," he said.

The government has set a production target of 100 million tonnes through the captive route in 2016-17, the last year of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan, Srivastava said.

He said the private sector must be involved in exploration, too. "I believe that the Central Mine Planning and Design Institute Ltd should outsource at least 50 per cent of its operations through the private sector."