The Union Finance miniÂstry has given an in-principle apprÂoval to a new mechanism in which all regulatory clearÂanÂces are to be obtained by the govÂernment before coal blocks are auctioÂned to state-run or private coÂmpanies, thus concÂluding the debate on 'go' and 'no-go' areas for mining of coal.
If accepted as policy, it will come as an imÂmense relief to companies acrÂoss sectors such as power, steel, ceramics and ceÂment which have been alloÂcaÂted coal blocks but have not been able to devÂelop them, as an intense ecoÂlogical debate rages. Companies now have to obtain multiple, time-consÂumÂing clearances-such as for poÂllution, marine life, wildlife, forest, environment and rehaÂbilitation and resettlement (R and R), among others-before they can start developing and exploiting allocated mines. Securing all regulatory clearÂanÂces take between three and six years. Such delays, mine allocÂatÂions are revoked on the groÂund of lack of progress.