New Delhi: The Union Government has decided to eliminate the ‘Go’ (eligible for mining) and ‘No Go’ (not eligible for mining) rule which has already posed several hurdles in a number of industrial projects. The process will pave the way for mining in at least 200 coal blocks in the country. 

The rule had become a major bottleneck for dozens of power, steel, cement and many other projects. The decision to scrap the rule was taken after the discussion on the recommendations of the BK Chaturvedi committee in the Group of Ministers (GoM) meeting held on Tuesday under the leadership of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee. Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal played a prominent role in pushing for the decision.
Now, the older formula will be applied for forest and environment clearance of the projects under which the Forest and Environment Ministry will provide permission under the Environment Protection Act, 1986 and Forest Conservation Act, 1980.

The BK Chaturvedi committee in its report had suggested scrapping the rule questioning its legal credibility.

Also present in the meeting were Home Minister P Chidambaram, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Minister of Power Sushilkumar Shinde and new Forest and Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan who supported the panel’s recommendations.

The sources revealed that except for very dense forest coal blocks, one can apply for mining at any block after the Forest and Environment Ministry reviews its position.

There are total 602 coal blocks in the country with the new decision paving the way for 203 coal blocks. These blocks, of which 193 were of cement, sponge iron, power and steel, were falling in the ‘No go’ category due to which mining was prohibited in the region.

Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said, “The coal which falls in the ‘No go’ category can produce about 1.30 lakh mw of electricity. Without extracting coal from these blocks, it is not possible to achieve the growth rate of 9 percent in the country.”

It is to be noted, former Forest and Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh had issued a notification in year 2010 to divide them into the ‘Go’ and ‘No go’ categories.