Bhopal: The Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) has been granted permission to explore coal bed methane (CBM) in the Shahdol district of Madhya Pradesh, reports PTI.
The Madhya Pradesh Directorate General of Hydrocarbons has granted Petroleum Exploration Licence (PEL) to ADAG for exploration of CBM from Sohagpur (north) block in Shahdol district, on August 11, sources said.
As per the PEL, ADAG was given permission for exploring CBM in an area of 609 sq km, sources said.
Meanwhile, ADAG officials said the group has started its operation at the site since Wednesday and after undertaking the core drilling operations, proper study would be conducted to access the resources available there.
The project of ADAG, which is setting up a 4,000 MW Sasan Ultra Mega Power Plant (UMPP) in Sidhi district, will open a new source of non-conventional energy in the state, which is in the grip of an acute power crisis for a long time, they said.
"ADAG's entry in the CBM sector is a good sign for the state," a source said.
Coal bed methane is a form of natural gas extracted from coal beds by drilling holes into coal seams and can be utilised for power generation, compressed natural gas (CNG) and fertiliser manufacturing, sources said.
Power production from CBM would not only contribute in reducing ozone layer threat but also open alternative option of electricity generation, they said, adding it is certainly a matter of pride that there were abundant CBM deposits in Madhya Pradesh.
Washington: The US is in touch with India to address its concerns over the hike in H1-B and L1 visa fee, which would adversely affect Indian IT companies, reports PTI quoting a senior administration official.
"We are in touch with the Indian government and are trying as best as we can to answer the questions they have about this new law," the official, familiar with the ongoing Indo-US talks on this issue, told PTI.
The official said there is no secret that the Indian government has expressed its concern about this new provision but Washington is not aware of India approaching the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on the issue.
"We are not aware that India has taken any action on the WTO front, but if and when they do that will be a question posed to US Trade Representative (USTR)," the official said, responding to statements coming out from Indian officials that New Delhi might approach the WTO.
However, there was no response from the USTR.
The Union commerce and industry minister, Anand Sharma, had last week also written a letter to the US Trade Representative, Ron Kirk, in this regard.
Under the $600 million border security bill signed into law by president Barack Obama, nearly $550 million would be raised by increasing the fee in the categories of H-1B and L1 visas for the next five years, which would mostly impact Indian IT companies.
Businesses in India and the US have termed this as discriminatory and said this would undermine the growing Indo-US economic relationship, with which the Obama administration does not agree.
Secretary of homeland security, Janet Napolitano, said last week that increase in the visa fee makes sense, but there is nothing in the bill that would have any adverse impact on the US-India relationship.
Indo-US ties, she said, is robust and strong, Ms Napolitano said.
However, officials privately do concede that the visa row has brought some sort of strain at least in the economic ties, which have been robust under the Obama administration.
State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner said the move could have an adverse impact on Indian companies but exuded confidence that the long-term economic partnership with India would continue to deepen and strengthen.
"We understand the government of India's concerns. We realise it could impact Indian companies that invest in the US and we also understand the potential impact on Indians who work in the US as well as some American businesses," Mr Toner said.