Govt likely to spend Rs 50,000 crore to improve coal evacuation infrastructure in the country: Coal Secretary

New Delhi: Mr Anil Kumar Jain, Secretary, Ministry of Coal, Govt of India, today said that if need arises, the government will spend Rs 50,000 crore to improve the coal evacuation infrastructure. This will further improve coal transportation and support the industry as well.

Addressing the webinar ‘Stakeholders Consultation on Auction of Coal Mines for Commercial Mining’, organized by FICCI, Mr 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.”

In order to support the industry and improve logistics in the coal sector, Mr Jain added that the Ministry is also in touch with the 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.

Emphasizing on the importance of the auction of 41 coal blocks for commercial mining, Mr Jain said that the government has come up with very liberal norms for commercial coal mining. He added that an Inter-Ministerial Empowered Committee, comprising Secretary Law, Secretary Petroleum and Secretary Department of Economic Affairs along with him, has been formed to sort out time to time operational problems of the miners.

“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 mining plan portal and through one portal now everything will be monitored,” said Mr Jain.

He further stated that as compared to other sectors, coal is a good sector and has good profitability. Imported coal can never compete with domestic coal prices.

The next rounds of stakeholder consultations will be organized by the Ministry of Coal with FICCI as Industry Partner on 24th July and 3rd August to address queries of the bidders during the ongoing bid process of 41 coal blocks.

Mr M Nagaraju, Joint Secretary & Nominated Authority, Ministry of Coal, Govt of India said that the response of the industry has been tremendous to the auction process of the coal blocks. Measures have been taken to revamp the bid conditions and the process has 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.

Mr 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 with the prospect of the opening up of the coal sector.”

The webinar was also attended by senior officials from the Ministry of Coal, Mr Bhabani Prasad Pati, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Coal, Mr Shekhar Saran, CMD, CMPDIL and representatives from SBI Caps.