Elevated Jaiswal wants check on coal mafia

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New Delhi, Jan 19 (PTI) After being elevated to theCabinet rank today, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal saidchecking coal mafia was a challenge before the government andhe would like to ''wash out'' certain things, so as to preventrevenue loss to state-owned companies.

"Now the challenge is to have proper check on coalmafia," a jubilant coal minister told PTI.

Jaiswal, who was Minister of State with Independentcharge, has been promoted as a cabinet minister.

"The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assessed my work forone and half years and then promoted me. So it means I havelived up to the expectation," Jaiswal said, adding, "Thisministry was very infamous for certain things. I will try towash it out."

He added, "I have tried to increase the coal productionand was successful to an extent. A Group of Minister islooking into the matter of go, no-go (areas for mining) andour effort is to find out a solution at the earliest."

Jaiswal had said earlier that this year he wouldintensify his drive to cleanse the coal sector of wrongdoings.

Mafia, pilferage and theft eat into the productivity andprofitability of coal companies. It was only in the secondterm of the UPA regime that concrete steps were taken toeliminate these anti-social elements, Jaiswal had said.

He had also said that 10,000 mafia groups operated in thecountry and are nestled mostly in Coal India Ltd (CIL)collieries and the annual plunder there was at least 5-6million tonnes, causing huge loss to the state exchequer.

India is home to cumulative coal reserves of 267 billiontonnes, the largest in the world, and the fossil fuel accountsfor 55 per cent of the country''s energy needs.

Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa arethe main coal producing states.

State-owned CIL, which accounts for over 80 per cent ofthe domestic coal production through its seven subsidiaries,produced 431.5 million tonnes of dry fuel in 2009-10.

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