Top

Majority of CIL’s Mining Projects Put on Fast Track

SETTING a fast PACE, The Centre has given a push to 90 of Coal India’s 150 greenfield and brownfield mining projects, which entail an investment of around `88,000 crore

The government has put 90 of Coal India's nearly 150 greenfield and brownfield mining projects on the fast track, entailing an investment of around Rs 88,000 crore, in a bid to augment domestic coal supply quickly and ensure uninterrupted power, despite the cancellation of coal block allocations by the apex court.

The coal ministry has sought faster clearances for Coal India Limited or CIL's much-delayed projects, some of which have been on the drawing board for decades and could double its capacity once complete, as this would also allay the apprehensions of the firm's trade unions about its future, as the expansion plan would create hundreds of employment opportunities and ensure the behemoth retains its dominant market stature.

This move runs parallel to the proposed auction of coal blocks that the government intends to wrap up in the current financial year, for which an ordinance was promulgated on October 21. Coal India trade unions have announced a one-day strike on November 24, protesting against what they term as a move to allow private companies in commercial coal mining.

“While we are working on rolling out the coal block auctions soon, it is imperative to raise domestic output of coal as well, so we have decided to fast-forward all of Coal India's outstanding projects by flagging them with the project monitoring group in the cabinet secretariat,” said a senior government official.

The group is responsible for steering bigticket projects caught up in red tape-induced delays, out of the woods.

Over the past week alone, the coal ministry has taken up 38 such mining projects with the cabinet secretariat involving an investment of close to Rs 65,000 crore, most of them awaiting green clearances and land acquisition. These are on top of 25 other mining projects that involve investment of Rs 19,000 crore by Coal India, whose problems have already been taken up for resolution with the concerned ministries and state governments.

Already, red tape hurdles such as forest and environmental clearances stalling 28 other coal mines spread across the country have been lifted, paving the way for additional coal production of over 90 million tonne (mt) from these mines over the next year or so.

“The government recognizes that the coal sector needs a fresh `mission-mode' approach and believes that strengthening Coal India's capacities is a critical part of the solution, whether you look at it from the perspective of keeping costs low for end-users or of restricting the current account deficit,: the official said.

Together, these 90 projects, which include four dedicated railway lines to ferry the critical fuel source from rich coal belts in Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh with no connectivity, are expected to raise Coal India's capacity by over 450 mt, according to calculations.

Though India is rich in coal reserves, said to be the third largest in the world, it imported 171 million tonnes of coal for $16.41 billion in 2013-14, far higher than the 145 million tonnes it imported in the year before that. Between April and September, the country has already imported around 110 mt of different varieties of coal.

Coal India produced 462 million tonnes of coal last year, missing its output target by 20 mt, and the government expects local supply to fall short of demand by over 180 million tonne in 2016-17.

WORKING OUT THE NITTY-GRITTY

The Deallocated Mines Evaluation Panel committee, set up for valuation and assessment of the 42 running coal blocks deallocated by the Supreme Court recently, met for the first time last month. The panel has representatives from ministries of power, finance, law, coal, and a member from CMPDIL.

  Similar Posts

Share it
Top