Union Minister Pralhad Joshi announced on Saturday that the Center will invest more than Rs a lakh crore in the next three to four years to increase the country’s coal production and increase its extraction and transportation facilities.
He said measures were being taken to reduce the import of coal.
He was speaking at the virtual inauguration of a Western Coal Field (WCL) underground mine in Adasa-Nagpur in Maharashtra and two underground mines in Sharda and Dhankasa in Madhya Pradesh with a total capital expenditure of ₹ 849 crores.
Joshi said that 75 to 80 percent of the country’s electricity is generated from coal.
He said that Coal India Ltd (CIL) had been given the specific target of one billion tons of production by 2023-24 and for that 60 new coal blocks have been allocated.
“The CIL has coal reserves of approximately (the next) 100 years.
We are investing a large amount of money … more than Rs a lakh crore in the next three to four years for coal production, coal mining, and transportation. We will come out with the details after taking guidelines and consulting with the prime minister, ”he said.
“Unfortunately, despite India having the five largest coal reserves in the world, we imported 200 to 240 million tons of coal in 2019-20 as international prices also fell.
Some other factors were also involved in it. But the general import is continually increasing ”, lamented the Union Minister of Coal.
He said that even if CIL produces 1 billion tons in 2023-24 on target, there will be a deficit.
“With this in mind, we have recently announced commercial coal mining and its terms and conditions are very friendly to the industry,” added Joshi.
He said measures were being taken for the gasification of coal.
“A feasibility report has been prepared and the bidding process is underway,” he said.
Similarly, steps will be taken to improve the quality of coal, he said, adding that under “Atmanibhar Bharat Abhiyan” many new policy decisions are being introduced, such as removing the end-use restriction.
Additionally, the 20% royalty discount will be awarded to private players if they experience coal gasification, he said.
Joshi said that in the next month, the government would announce the auction of 50 to 60 percent of other mineral mines.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, his Madhya Pradesh counterpart Shivraj Singh Chouhan, and Union Minister Nitin Gadkari also attended the ceremony.
During his speech, Gadkari emphasized the need to improve the quality of coal, reduce the import of coal and suggested that measures be taken for the gasification of coal and the use of the sand that remains after mining for affordable housing, among other things.