New Delhi, Jan 13 (Agencies): Amid a tussle between ministries of coal and environment over mining issues, the Cabinet on Thursday decided to constitute a Group of Ministers (GoM) to look into the issue of 'no-go' mining areas.

The decision of the Union Cabinet is aimed at finding a pragmatic and balanced approach towards the issue of environmental clearances to mining areas, while ensuring ecology is not hurt, sources said.

Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said that the Cabinet Committee of Infrastructure (CCI) referred the matter to a Group of Ministers for discussions on the issue.

The Coal Ministry has been pressing for lifting the ban but the Environment Ministry has refused to relent. As a result, the matter reached the Prime Minister's Office which is keen to find a solution, sources said.

The GoM is likely to be headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and would include senior ministers-Home Minister P Chidambaram, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, Mines Minister B K Handique and Plan Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, the sources added.

Last year, Environment Ministry had defined 'no-go' areas for mining as those that have over 30 per cent gross forest cover or over 10 per cent weighted forest cover.

As per the guidelines, the mining is allowed only in the 'go' areas.

The 'no-go' classification has brought 206 coal block involving a production potential of 660 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) under its ambit.

Earlier, the Coal Ministry had vehemently opposed 'no-go' classification, by saying that not permitting coal mining in 206 blocks would affect about 1,30,000 MW potential power generation capacity.

These coal blocks are spread across 4,039 sq km in nine coalfields.