Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi on Friday said the Centre has accepted the suggestion of the Chhattisgarh government to change five mines in the state put up for commercial coal auctions with three other new mines.
"The coal Ministry has accepted the suggestion of Chhattisgarh government to change five mines with other three new mines put under commercial coal auctions in the state," Joshi said.
Presently, nine mines have been put up for commercial mines auction in Chhattisgarh. Joshi, who is on a visit to Chhattisgarh, also met Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel.
"The meeting was very positive, progressive and open minded. We have discussed issues related to coal and other minerals in the state. Chief minister has also given some good suggestions on DMF (District Mineral Foundation) and NMET (National Mineral Exploration Trust) on which we will consider positively," he added.
During their meeting, it was also decided "to get a proposal by a committee comprising of Coal India (CIL), Chhattisgarh government and MAHAGENCO officials in 15 days for shifting of a railway line of Chhattisgarh East Railway Ltd (CERL)."
Joshi said commencement of commercial coal mining will start a new era of growth and development in Chhattisgarh.
Under commercial coal mining, the state will fetch minimum Rs 4,400 crore revenue in a year and and additional minimum premium of Rs 2,000 crore. It will also create around 60,000 additional jobs.
Besides, commercial coal mining will contribute around Rs 25 crore to the various DMF funds of the state which can be used for inclusive development of regions surrounding coalfield areas.
"Chhattisgarh will be the key beneficiary of this biggest and boldest reform ever taken in coal sector. Commercial mining will unlock unprecedented opportunities to transform the coal sector by ushering in additional capital investments, latest mining technologies, employment generation, orderly development and ultimately leading to self-reliance of the country in coal requirement," Joshi said.
The coal minister also reviewed the performance of South Eastern Coalfields Ltd (SECL) with the company's top officials and discussed coal evacuation issues with railway officials.
He acknowledged the hard work put in by Coal Warriors in the last few months amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Also, he interacted with representatives of sponge iron and steel industry and took their feedback on various issues pertaining to the sector.
The minister said state-owned CIL has planned a capital expenditure of Rs 26,000 crore in the state over the next four years.
"SECL's holding company, Coal India Ltd (CIL) has planned Rs 26,000 crores capex for developing infrastructures across Chhattisgarh in the next four years," Joshi said.
Highlighting the efforts of the government in building new infrastructure for rapid and smooth coal evacuation, Joshi said Chhattisgarh East Railway Ltd (CERL), a joint venture of SECL, IRCON and CSIDC, is developing a rail corridor.
CERL has incurred more than Rs 2,000 crore capex till date.
The CERL rail corridor is meant for meeting the logistics challenges foreseen on account of coal evacuation to meet the growing coal needs of the country and providing the region with passenger train connectivity.
This corridor has a total length of 193 kms and is being developed in two phases.
"The phase I is from Kharsia to Dharamjayagarh with a route length of 131 kilometres while the Phase II with route length of 62 kilometres will further join Dharamjayagarh with Korba with a spur upto Gare-Palma block of coal mines," the minister said.
In the first phase, a 43-km long section from Kharsia to Korichapar has already been commissioned for goods traffic.
Stressing upon the importance of coal mining for Chhattisgarh, the minister said the state has the largest coal mine in Asia and it plays crucial role in fulfilling the power demands of country, according to a coal ministry statement.
Coal mining also helps Chhattisgarh in fulfilling its aspirations for growth and development, he said.
In the last four years, more than Rs 13,200 crore has been paid to the state as part of statutory levies by SECL.
Moreover, with enhanced coal production, SECL will pay around Rs 22,900 crore as revenue to the state's exchequer in the next four years.