National

Controversial coal block cleared

The Environment Ministry has given its nod for mining the controversial Mahan coal block in Madhya Pradesh. The Ministry has accorded the Stage II forestry clearance to Hindalco and Essar, joint claimants over the block located in one of the densest forests recorded in India.

If the nod did not come through by February-end, de-allocation would have loomed large on the coal block. The Hindu had reported how the UPA government sidestepped its own regulations, under the watch of the Prime Minister’s office, to clear the project.

After successive Environment Ministers objected to the project, the decision was deferred to a Group of Ministers, headed by Pranab Mukherjee, who at the time was Finance Minister. The GoM gave the first stage clearance under the Forest Conservation Act. Two successive Ministers and experts of the Ministry objected to this on record. Jairam Ramesh said the PMO repeatedly pursued the case with him and concerned industrialists. Later, even the Tribal Affairs Minister complained that the Forest Rights Act had been violated in the case.

The government’s second stage clearance means it has ignored the reservations made by civil society groups.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 8:20:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/controversial-coal-block-cleared/article5682464.ece

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