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Union Minister G Kishan Reddy Urges Accelerated Operationalization of Coal Blocks to Boost Domestic Production

New Delhi: Union Minister for Coal and Mines, G. Kishan Reddy, chaired a crucial meeting with officials from the Ministry of Coal to review the progress and management of captive and commercial coal blocks across the country. Emphasizing the need for swift action, Minister Reddy underscored the importance of close coordination with all stakeholders, including State Governments and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, to resolve pending issues promptly and facilitate faster clearances for operationalizing allotted coal blocks.

During the meeting, Minister Reddy reiterated the government’s commitment to enhancing domestic coal production as a key step towards achieving self-reliance (‘Aatmanirbharta’) in coal. He directed officials to strengthen institutional frameworks at the state level to support coal block allottees regularly, ensuring expedited commencement of mining activities.

To date, the Ministry of Coal has allocated or auctioned 161 coal mines with a peak rated capacity of 575 million tonnes (MT). Of these, 58 mines have received mine opening permissions, and 54 mines are currently operational. These operational mines collectively produced 147 MT of coal last year, contributing significantly to the country’s total coal output.

The coal blocks allocated to captive and commercial miners cater primarily to large consumers such as NTPC, West Bengal Power Development Corporation Limited (WBPDCL), Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL), Vedanta, Hindalco, Adani, among others. Minister Reddy emphasized that increasing production from these mines will alleviate pressure on Coal India Limited (CIL) and subsequently impact auction prices positively, making coal more affordable for various sectors including power, steel, fertilizers, aluminum, cement, paper, and sponge iron. This, in turn, is expected to mitigate inflationary pressures across industries heavily dependent on coal as a primary energy source.

Looking ahead, Minister Reddy urged for accelerated exploration activities and proposed offering more coal blocks in subsequent auction rounds to attract greater investor participation. He highlighted that technical eligibility for coal block auctions does not require prior coal mining experience, allowing any financially sound entity to participate. Moreover, the auctions are now open for the unrestricted sale of coal in the open market, including for export purposes.

Aligning with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to achieve energy independence by 2047 and promote self-sufficiency in coal production, Minister Reddy set a target of achieving at least 175 MT of coal production from captive and commercial coal blocks this year, reflecting a growth of 19%.

In a significant development, Union Minister G Kishan Reddy will inaugurate the 10th round of commercial auction of coal mines on June 21, 2024, signaling the government’s steadfast commitment to accelerating coal block auctions and operationalization.

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