New legislation for increasing coal production,no price rise of coal

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Kolkata, Jun 20 (UNI) Union Minister of State for Coal Santosh Bagrodia today said a comprehensive legislation would be adopted soon for enhancing quality coal production and ruled out price hike of coal despite spiralling inflation.

''We are planning to set up washeries at all pitheads to ensure 100 per cent washed coal supply to the consumers'', Mr Bagrodia told a seminar on 'National Coal Resources: Scope for Optimization,' organsied by Bharat Chamber of Commerce.

He, however, said the consumer has to bear the cost of quality coal, which has better efficiency and less emission.

The Coal Ministry has prioritised to become self-sufficient in coal production so that consumers like power, steel and others get quality coal on demand, Mr Bagrodia said.

He said the Coal Ministry was considering PPP (public private partnership) in extraction of coal from abandoned mines so that production was doubled in two decades.

To meet the target, Coal India had already announced a capital expenditure of Rs 18,000 crore during the current plan period. The production target of the PSU during the current fiscal had been pegged at 400 million tonnes, as compared to the production of 380 million tonne in 2007-08.

He said coal stocks were enough at all pitheads but transportation was main hindrance to reach coal to the consumers.

Mr Bagrodia said he was in touch with the Railway ministry and the Transport ministry to ensure that transportation of coal from pitheads were on time and regular.

Coal users at the seminar complained to the minister that despite payments, they face scarcity of coal due to inadequate rakes and carriages.

Mr Bagrodia said the new legislation was in the offing to widen the scope for captive mining in the joint venture. He said the ministry was considering a new coal act as demands for coal were increasing, especially from power and steel sectors.

He said the state was asked to contact Coal India through their agents to lift coal as they required for their small scale industries.

On optimisation of coal mining, the minister said the Coal India has social responsibility like proper rehabilitation in case of displacement of local population from mine areas.

Coal India Chairman Partha S Bhattacharyya said availability of coke, a demanding raw material for steel industry, was limited in the country.

He said only Jharia region has coke reserve in the country and extraction of mineral needed huge planning and rehabilition of people.

Coal India has already identified 65 spots from where about 400,000 people were to be rehabilitated before coke coal extraction.

He said under Jharia Plan, Rs 80,000 crore has been earmarked for rehabilitaton of local people.

UNI PC ADG PDT KN1830

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