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Minister Reddy urges swift activation of coal mines for accelerated operations

New Delhi, June 20, 2024 (TBB Bureau): Union Minister for Coal and Mines, G. Kishan Reddy, on Thursday convened a high-level meeting with key officials of the Coal Ministry to conduct a comprehensive review of the management of captive and commercial coal blocks. Emphasizing the paramount importance of collaborative efforts, Minister Reddy underscored the need for close coordination with all stakeholders, including State Governments and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The objective is to swiftly address pertinent issues and expedite the clearance process, thereby facilitating the operationalization of allocated coal blocks in the shortest possible timeframe.

Recognizing the imperative of bolstering coal production to curtail imports and advance towards self-reliance in coal, Minister Reddy directed the reinforcement of institutional capacities at the state level. He urged for proactive facilitation of coal block allocattees to expedite the operationalization of coal mines.

To date, the Ministry of Coal has allocated or auctioned 161 coal mines with a peak rated capacity of 575 million tonnes. Notably, 58 mines have secured mine opening permissions, with 54 already operational. These mines collectively contributed 147 million tonnes to the country’s coal production last year, constituting 15% of the total output.

Captive and commercial coal miners, including prominent entities like NTPC, Vedanta, Hindalco, and Adani, play a pivotal role as major consumers. Minister Reddy emphasized that increased production by these entities would alleviate pressure on coal demand from Coal India Limited (CIL), thereby potentially reducing auction prices. This, in turn, could translate into more affordable coal rates for various sectors, thus mitigating inflationary pressures.

In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of achieving energy independence by 2047 and self-reliance in coal, Minister Reddy urged all stakeholders to strive towards achieving a coal production target of at least 175 million tonnes from captive and commercial coal blocks this year, marking a substantial 19% growth.

In a significant development, Union Minister G. Kishan Reddy is poised to inaugurate the 10th round of commercial auction of coal mines on June 21, 2024. This initiative is set to catalyze the pace of coal block auctions and operationalization, aligning with the broader goal of enhancing domestic coal production and fostering self-sufficiency in the sector.

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