In 1997, the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) had capped the ash content in coal at 34 per cent for power stations located 1000 km away from the coal mines and those in critically polluted areas. In 2014, this rule was amended to include power plants located 500 km away from coal mines, which were also required to use coal of 34 percent ash content by 2016. However, currently the ash content in coal delivered to power plants in India averages about 40 percent. Also, there have been continuous delays in the implementation of coal washing with respect to the growing demand of coking and non-coking coal by thermal power plants and steel industry.
In April month MoEFCC released a draft notification related to removing the mandatory requirement of coal washing for thermal power plants on which CSE gave a detailed reply and requested wider stakeholder consultation. A detailed letter along with CSE comments was also sent to the Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (Mr. Prakash Javdekar on 14th May, 2020).
MoEFCC went ahead and released the final notification gazetted on 21st May, 2020, largely in the line of draft notification. This is conclusive through a comparative analysis CSE did between draft and final notification.