MoEF has made the process of environmental clearance for expansion of coal mines a bit easier from now.
Mines that have an annual capacity of up to 8 million tonnes, will not require holding of public hearings, if expanded by up to 50% of their capacity as against earlier rule that required public hearings even if the mine capacity was being expanded by 25%.
This decision is considered to be useful for Coal India that will now be able to increase its output by 30-40 million tonnes.
The ministry which under the two earlier ministers had a pro environment stance has now taken a pro industry stance.
The decision taken by the ministry to relax the clearance process for expansion projects comes at a time when there are increased reports of increased violations by the coal industry. The industry experts on the other hand have cited tough environmental regulations for delay in project deliveries.