New Delhi: Although the ‘go, no-go’ clause, which classified the coal mining zones, has been dumped by the Centre, the Environment Ministry is all set to issue new conditions for the coal mining companies to meet environmental norms.

Once the government implements the new rules, the coal companies would be required to plant 3-4 times more saplings to compensate for the number of trees chopped for mining. Apart from that the companies would have to maintain the forest land for at least 10 years.

A consensus to this effect was arrived in the Group of Ministers headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday.

The GoM has given its in-principle approval to the 9 recommendations of BK Chaturvedi Committee on coal mines and related development projects.

As per the recommendations of the GoM, the coal companies are required to start forestation from the fifth to seventh year of starting mining operations. They will have to maintain the plants up to 10 years.

According to the existing norms, the coal companies look after the plants up to 5 years and then hand them over to the state governments.

It was also decided that an independent body would monitor the forestation drive of the coal companies.

An annual report will be prepared over the steps being taken for forest conservation in mining areas.

The companies need to take permission from government over the plan of forestation before beginning extraction of coal.

The Union Environment Ministry will constitute a special cell in every coal mining state to suggest which type of forest should be planted, given the geographical and climatic conditions of the state concerned.