A coal policy is underway to govern extraction of the coal resource of the country for the maximum benefit. It was already referred for revision for the forth time delaying its coming into force. The latest revision was necessary on the issue of environmental safeguards. Officials said that the coal policy is almost finalised and the government has formulated its positions on the debated issues. So there may not be any major change in already known official positions on issues like coal export, mining method, procedures of calculating royalty.
It is praiseworthy that the government is giving due importance to environmental issue as coal is one of the major pollutants. But report said that stress is being given on environmental regulations specially so that displaced people can get their due compensation. It is vital that the government also assesses the environmental damage to be caused by coal exploration and its use in power plants in the long term. There is a need for updating the existing environmental regulation to be attuned with time. So, the issue of strengthening the Department of Environment (DoE) must get priority before the coal policy is finalised. If it is done before strengthening DoE, there must be provision in the coal policy requiring it to match its implementation with the new regulation of DoE.
At the present context, the government must strengthen the DoE to regulate environmental matters not only related to coal but also other sectors. Environment is an issue which can help check many irregularities, force people in trade and business to stop corruption, and ensure better benefit for us in the form of increased trade and commerce with the developed countries. This issue should get proper attention in all cases.