Sriprakash Jaiswal says efforts will be stepped up to locate coal

New Delhi, Sep 24 (ANI): Minister of State for Coal Sriprakash Jaiswal on Friday said the Government is actively considering to enhance the borehole density for coal exploration from the existing 1.5 per square kilometer to 15-20 boreholes square kilometer without the need for seeking forestry clearance in order to meet the sharply rising coal demand.

Expressing concern over increasing demand and supply gap in energy sector, Jaiswal said coal production is hovering around 530 million tones and the country is importing about 67 million tones of coal.

"To meet the existing shortfall there is urgent need to increase the production by bringing more coal bearing area under mining," he added, while addressing the Coal Summit here today.

Jaiswal further said that there are long standing issues, which need to be addressed to augment domestic coal production and to facilitate large-scale imports to supplement the efforts of domestic producers to make available required quantities of coal.

"The major constraints associated in 'Accelerated Development of Coal Blocks' are land acquisition and related issues, forestry and environmental clearances, inadequate evacuation infrastructure in major coalfields and law and order problems, particularly in some States," said Jaiswal.

"To deal with the adverse law and order situation around some of the coal projects, the Ministry of Coal has taken up the matter with the Ministry of Home Affairs for augmentation of the present strength of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel in the coal companies," he added.

Highlighting the efforts being made by the Government to expand coal production base, Sriprakash Jaiswal said that besides expanding the production capacities of national coal companies through new projects, the government has allocated 208 coal blocks.

"Out of these 26 coal blocks have commenced the production. The contribution from these blocks is expected around 104 million tones in next five years. Still there are constraints coming in the way to increase production from captive blocks includes delays in obtaining forestry clearance, land acquisition, rehabilitation etc.," said Jaiswal.

"It is the endeavour of the government to create enabling environment for achieving the goals of increased coal production and widening energy resources. The industry on its part is also required to establish international benchmark in every area of operation including coal production and consumption," he added. (ANI)

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