India: Coal ministry plans more mining projects

India: Coal ministry plans more mining projects

The coal ministry is preparing plans for new projects which will be submitted to the Cabinet in a month, according to Union minister of state for coal Santosh Bagrodia.

Talking to mediapersons here, Bagrodia said though several projects were in the pipeline, the ministry was working on more projects to make the country self-sufficient in coal.

He said efforts were being made to ensure that coal imports did not exceed 50 million tonnes per year by 2011, the end the current five-year Plan. Last year, coal imports stood at 42 million tonnes. Of this, 22 million tonnes was coking coal.

The private sector has been allotted 182 coal blocks for mining. Of these, 17 had come into production till now, while the remaining were expected to commence production over the next three years, he said.

Stating that total coal production in the country this year would be 525 million tonnes, Bagrodia said there was no shortage of coal for power projects.

“We are ready to supply as much coal as they want. However, at the moment, a number of utilities have less than seven days’ stocks as against the preferred 21 days. They are keeping low stocks for their own reasons”, he said.

“We want the coal ministry to be absolutely transparent”, the minister said, adding that national coal consumers councils would be rejuvenated.


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