West Bengal has sole operatorship of India’s largest coal block, says CM Mamata Banerjee

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New Delhi | Published: May 2, 2018 11:50:33 PM

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today claimed to have got the Centre's clearance for the sole operatorship of India's largest coal block Deocha-Pachami in the state's Birbhum district.

mamata banerjee, west bengal, coal, coal india, sole operatorship, piyush goyalNone, however, showed any interest in developing the block in the last three years or so, prompting Banerjee to seek sole operatorship. (PTI)

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today claimed to have got the Centre’s clearance for the sole operatorship of India’s largest coal block Deocha-Pachami in the state’s Birbhum district. Banerjee met Union Coal Minister Piyush Goyal at his residence after the meeting of the chief ministers on the 150 birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Speaking to reporters, the chief minister claimed that she had got the clearance from the Union Minister after holding discussions related to certain complications Bengal was facing regarding the coal block. “I discussed the issue with him. We had to share the coal block with five other states earlier. Now, they all have agreed to give it to us. We were waiting for the central (government) clearance. We have now got the clearance,” Banerjee said.

The state government has a plan of Rs 12,000 crore to develop the huge coal block in the Deocha-Pachami belt. It can generate one lakh jobs. The state government has shown interest to develop the block that can produce coal worth more than Rs 2 lakh. Responding to the state government’s proposal the Centre has already set up an intra-ministerial committee to explore the project. The block was originally offered jointly to West Bengal, Bihar, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and SJVNL (formerly the Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd).

None, however, showed any interest in developing the block in the last three years or so, prompting Banerjee to seek sole operatorship. The Centre had responded to Banerjee’s demand by setting up an inter-ministerial committee to examine her proposal. After two years of deliberations, the Centre has now agreed to allow Bengal to develop the mine.

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