The Indian government eased environmental thresholds for coal mines to boost coal production in response to the current power crisis.
India's coal ministry said in a memo that the current domestic coal supply is under great pressure and fuel shortages have triggered frequent hours-long power outages in the country.
The Indian government said some existing coal mines will be able to increase production by another 10% without the need for new environmental assessments from local residents.
It is understood that the relaxation of environmental regulations for coal mines will last for six months. This followed complaints that the lengthy process of obtaining environmental permits could hamper efforts to ease the fuel crisis. Coal miners are aiming to ramp up production quickly before the monsoon season arrives at the end of June.
The special dispensation applies to coal mines that have been granted permission to expand production by 40%, and they are allowed to raise their production by up to 50% from the initial target.
India also plans to reopen more than 100 decommissioned coal mines that were previously deemed financially unsustainable.
India is the world's second-largest producer, importer and consumer of coal, and nearly 75% of the country's electricity demand comes from coal burning.
The Indian government is also working to enhance coal imports and restart some coal power units to ease the ongoing power crisis since April.
(Writing by Alex Guo Editing by Tammy Yang)
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