Importing coal unjustified as country has huge reserves: Piyush Goyal

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Nagpur | Published: March 23, 2015 8:59:42 AM

Union Minister Piyush Goyal today said importing coal is "unjustified" at a time when the country is sitting on reserves totaling 300 billion tonne.

coal, coal india, coal import in india, coal ministry, piyush goyal coal ministry, piyush goyal, coal importers in india, coal reserves in indiaUnion Minister Piyush Goyal said importing coal is ?unjustified? at a time when the country is sitting on reserves totaling 300 billion tonne. PTI

Union Minister Piyush Goyal said importing coal is “unjustified” at a time when the country is sitting on reserves totaling 300 billion tonne.

“When the country is sitting on a huge coal reserve, to import it is unjustified. The production of coal has risen from 432 million tonne to 460 million tonne and will cross 493 million tonne this year, which will be an increase of over 30 million tonne,” Goyal told a press conference here.

The Union minister of state for Coal said that the BJP-led government at Centre has accorded a top priority to coal and generation of power and that all-out efforts are being made to supply coal to electricity generating units across the country.

“The government is also giving mines to states to meet the requirement,” the minister said, adding the production of coal by the Coal India Limited has gone up by seven per cent since the BJP government came to power last year.

On the occasion, Goyal hailed Western Coalfields Limited (WCL), a Coal India subsidiary, for pulling the loss-making company out of red and producing 38 million tonne of coal.

He said WCL will open a new mine every month.

Goyal said he was surprised to know that around eight crore housewives in the country burn coal to cook food.

Earlier, he inaugurated Penganga open cast mine at Wani in neighbouring Chandrapur district. The mine has the production capacity of four million tonne.

Goyal also dedicated to nation Makardhokra Open Cast and Bhangegaon Open Cast mines having capacity of 2 million tonne and one million tonne, respectively.

Union Ministers Nitin Gadkari and Hansraj Ahir along with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and Power Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule were present on the occasion. “Seventy million tonne of coal is set to be produced from these mines, which would be spared only for Maharashtra so that power is generated and provided to farmers at cheaper rates,” Goyal said, adding that 24 more new mines would be opened in next 2 years.

He said WCL will come up with a 200–bed hospital at Koradi near Nagpur, besides setting up of a facility for treatment of Cancer in Nagpur city.

On the occasion, Fadnavis said the Penganga coal mine would help providing electricity at cheaper rates to farmers and transform their lives.

“The new mine would provide employment to the rural youth in addition to Rs 125 crore compensation for farmers or land owners under the provisions of new Land Acquisition Bill,” he said after performing the earth-breaking ceremony of Penganga coal mine at Wirur (Gadegaon) in Chandrapur district.

On Makardhokra and Bhanegaon coal mines, the CM said his government gave approval for the proposed mines within two months.

“WCL has given Rs two crore for cleaning and deepening of river Irai at Chandrapur as part of their social responsibility,” he said.

Fadnavis said the state government has purchased one crore quintals of cotton from farmers for Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs 4,000 per quintal.

He said the government has a systematic plan in place to make villages free of water scarcity in near future.

As per the plan, 5,000 villages would be made free from water scarcity every year by implementing ‘Jalyukta Shivar Yojana’ in a time-bound and systematic manner, the chief minister said.

Maharashtra government has made a provision of Rs 1,000 crore for providing pumps for agriculture while Rs 3,000 crore will be provided for extending network of road in rural parts of the state.

In his address, Gadkari asked WCL to explore the possibility of setting up of a coal research laboratory in the region which will be on par with other laboratories of international standard, for improving quality of coal.

Our country needs 22 per cent drivers in near future and WCL should come forward to train youths so as to enable them to find employment in different parts of the country, he said.

Gadkari said Urea could be provided to farmers at a rate which is 40-45 per cent cheaper if a suitable coal block is allotted for setting up a coal-based urea plant in area.

Ahir, Union Minister of state for chemicals and fertilisers, said around 514 persons from the project affected families would be given employment in Penganga project.

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