EM wrongly viewed as stumbling block: Natarajan

New Delhi: Environment Ministry is "wrongly viewed" as a stumbling block for industrial and mining sectors despite the fact that it has given clearance for coal mining and setting up of power plants way beyond the 12th Plan, Union Minister Jayanthi Natarajan said today.

"I believe that the Ministry of Environment is wrongly viewed as a stumbling block. We can assure with figures and facts that we have given clearances for both for coal mining and in terms of other clearances way beyond the energy targets, even one projected by the 12th Plan (2012-17)," she told reporters here.

Though the Environment Ministry has given licences for mining 830 million tonnes of coal, only a very less quantity of the mineral is mined, she said.

Natarajan was interacting with media at a programme organised here by the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). "The quantity of coal actually taken out is very less," she said, adding that her ministry should not be blamed for any shortage of coal.

Natarajan`s statement assumes significance in the wake of Coal Ministry blaming the Ministry of Environment and Forests for not giving environment clearances hampering production of coal.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has constituted a GoM on Coal in February last year to iron out issues impeding coal production.

Natarajan said the Environment Ministry has given licenses for generating 2 lakh MW of electricity, though the target in the 12th Plan is one lakh MW. "We have given licenses for already 2 lakh MW of power. And that is not the Environment Ministry stands in the way of power generation and coal mining," the Minister said.