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REGULATION | Cesar Tordesillas, India
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India Environment Minister disapproves mining on Morga-II

India Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has rejected forest clearance to another project, saying it is in “no-go” core area and lacks low-emission super-critical technology.

 

Before rejecting clearance to the GMDC to mine coal in Morga-II coal block, Ramesh had complained to the Prime Minister’s Office that Coal Ministry is not considering alternative Bhalumuda coal-block for the power plant being put up by KSK Mahanadhi Power Company Ltd in Jhangir-Champa in Chattisgarh.

In a letter to the PMO, Ramesh said, “There is absolutely no way that I will agree to Morga-II” and urged Principal Secretary to Prime Minister to intervene.

“In the last few days, I have shown considerable flexibility and the least that the Ministry of Coal can do is to reciprocate in situations where I cannot work out a compromise,” he said in the letter.

In a recent order, Environment Ministry had granted stage-I approval for opening of three stalled coal-blocks in the fringe of the Hasdeo-Arand region in Chattisgarh. Ramesh had later said it was a difficult decision to approve the coal blocks after overruling the Forest Advisory Committee but had stressed that “border line” case have to be cleared if power capacity addition target has to be met.

In a statement rejecting clearance to Gujarat Mineral Development Corporation, Ramesh said, “Morga-II coal-block is in the core of the biodiversity-rich Hasdeo-Arand forest area of Chattisgarh”, adding that it is “very clearly in ‘no-go’ area”.

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