CM urges Centre to allocate new coal blocks in West Bengal

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Kolkata, Nov 5 (UNI) The Centre should allocate new coal blocks in West Bengal to meet the demands of upcoming industries and for greater utilisation of the state's coal resources, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said today.

Inaugurating the 9th International Mining and Machinery Exhibition (IMME) here, the chief minister said there was an urgent need to increase coal production in the state receiving investment proposals for setting up industries which could only be fulfilled by creation of new coal blocks.

Mr Bhattacharjee pointed out that though resource wise West Bengal ranked fourth amongst the coal bearing states of the country, production wise the state stood at seventh and advocated for exploiting all opportunities to enhance the coal production.

Calling upon the mining experts to implant suitable technology to help exploit deep-seated coal deposits, he said adoption of newer technologies were needed as the coal reserves of some coalfields in the state were predominantly deep-seated and exploitable by underground method only.

He said the share of underground coal production in the country was only 13 per cent as compared to 87 per cent share of opencast coal production while in China, which has recorded highest coal production in the world, the share of underground mining was 90 per cent.

''It is a big challenge for the mining industry of our country to implant suitable technology so that deep-seated coal deposits can be exploited,'' Mr Bhattacharjee maintained.

Wishing IMME,2008, India's largest ever mining expo, all success, the chief minister informed that mining and mineral sector had recorded significant growth since independence.

''From a value of production of around Rs 30 crore in 1947, it reached a level of about Rs 75,000 crores by 2004-05 and the share of the mining and mineral sector in GDP of the country has increased from the level of 0.75 per cent in 1950-51 to its present share of 3.5 per cent,'' he said.

Fifteen countries are participating in the four-day IMME,2008 with Germany and Australia as "The Partner Country" and "The Focus Country" respectively.

UNI ADG PL RN1608

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