THE Ministry of Coal has decided to deallocate the captive coal block in Agarzari, Maharashtra, following the notification of the buffer zone around Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) in Chandrapur district.
The 700 ha coal block was allocated to the Maharashtra State Mining Corporation Limited in July 2007. It reportedly contains 137 million tonnes of coal reserves and is located 3.2 km from the Moharli forest range of the reserve.
The mining corporation had proposed to develop this block through the Adani group. Adani Enterprises Limited’s own coal mining project in Lohara village was turned down by the Union Ministry of Forests and Environment earlier this year because it fell within the Tadoba Andhari reserve’s buffer zone. After the buffer zone notification on May 5, the state forest department rejected corporation’s application for environmental clearance. The corporation then requested the coal ministry for the block’s de-allocation. Consequently, it was de-allocated on June 28.
In a related development, the Lohara East captive coal block, close to the tiger reserve, but not in the buffer zone, was de-allocated on May 17. The coal ministry took the decision after one of the block’s two allotted companies, M/s Murli Industries Limited, failed to deposit the requisite bank guarantee.
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