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Web Exclusive | December 2012

Govt to ease clearance norms for coal mines

The Union Environment Ministry has decided to ease its clearance requirements for existing coal mines planning to increase production. Existing coal mines with plans to increase production by as much as a quarter of its current permissible production levels will be exempt from holding public hearings as part of the environment clearance process.

In an order issued on December 19, the Ministry has increased the ambit of expansion projects in the coal-mining sector that will be exempted from the mandatory public hearing requirement. Expansion in coal mining projects that do not involve additional mine lease area or a change in mining method (underground to open cast) qualify for this exemption.

The exemption can be availed if the project has held public hearings earlier during the process of obtaining environment clearance. This order comes at a time when the environment ministry has been under attack for delays in clearing projects.

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