New single-window clearance for coal
The Union Government announced a new online single window clearance portal for the coal sector to speed up the operationalization of coal mines.
Single-window clearance portal:
- It aims at allowing successful bidders for coal blocks to obtain all the required clearances, including environmental and forest clearances, from a single portal along with progress monitoring, instead of visiting multiple authorities.
- The portal should allow successful bidders to operationalize coal mines more quickly.
- Currently, about 19 major approvals are required before starting the coal mine in the country.
- In the absence of unified platform for grant of clearances companies were required to approach different departments, which delayed in operationalization of the coal mines.
- The sector has long sought a single window clearance system to help with quicker operationalization, as obtaining the requisite clearances was taking over 2-3 years for successful bidders in many cases.
- It is a good move as coal blocks which were auctioned off in earlier tranches used to take more than a 2-3 years’ period to get operationalized.
- Some coal blocks auctioned as far back as 2015 has still not been operationalized due to delays in obtaining required clearances.
- The Parivesh mechanism for forest and environment related clearances would likely be merged into the single window clearance mechanism which might help the operationalization of the coals blocks that are set to be auctioned in the upcoming auctions.