Secretary, Ministry of Coal, Anil Kumar Jain on Tuesday said that if the need arises, the government will spend Rs 500 billion to improve the coal evacuation infrastructure. This would serve to further improve coal transportation and support the industry as well.
Addressing the webinar ‘Stakeholders Consultation on Auction of Coal Mines for Commercial Mining’, organised by the industry chamber Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Jain said, “The year 2020 is much different from 2008 or 2010 when old coal blocks were given. We would be making the additional investment in the eastern part of India including Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Odisha to ramp up coal evacuation in the country.”
The Central Govt launched the auction process of 41 coal blocks for commercial mining on June 18.
In order to support the industry and improve logistics in the coal sector, Jain added that the ministry was also in touch with the Indian Railways to enhance the network for coal transportation.
“We don’t expect you to buy mines and also build rail corridors. The government is very alive to your issues. The government will be willing to support the industry to provide new railway lines or loops,” he said.
Emphasising the importance of the auction of coal blocks for commercial mining, Jain said that the government had come up with very liberal norms for commercial coal mining. He added that an inter-ministerial empowered committee, comprising secretaries of law, petroleum and the Department of Economic Affairs along with him, had been formed to resolve issues routinely faced by coal mining companies.
“From the government’s side, we have done all that was required for the ease of doing business and we will continue to do in the future also. Environment clearance and forest clearance systems have improved considerably. We are also working to link the PARIVESH Portal with the mining plan portal and through one portal now everything will be monitored,” declared Jain.
He further stated that as compared to other sectors, coal was a good sector and offered good profitability. Imported coal could never compete with domestic coal on prices.
M Nagaraju, Joint Secretary & Nominated Authority, Ministry of Coal, Govt of India said that the industry had responded very well to the coal blocks auction. Measures were taken to revamp the bid conditions and the process had been made liberal and progressive. “We are making the process of owning and operating a coal mine simpler and transparent. We have set up a project management unit (PMU) to help us operate coal mines,” he added.
Dilip Chenoy, Secretary-General, FICCI said, “We believe that the involvement of the private sector will increase production and make India self-sufficient in meeting its internal coal requirements. We are excited about the prospect of the opening up of the coal sector.”
The webinar was also attended by senior officials from the Ministry of Coal, Central Mine Planning and Design Institute Ltd (CMPDIL) and representatives from SBI Caps.
The next rounds of stakeholder consultations will be organised by the Ministry of Coal with FICCI as the industry partner on July 24 and August 3 to address queries of the bidders during the ongoing bid process of 41 coal blocks.