Ministry of Coal has offered 13 coal blocks from the state of Maharashtra for auction. Out of these, 5 are fully explored and 8 are partially explored mines, informed Union Parliamentary Affairs, Coal and Mines Minister Prahlad Joshi at an investor conclave in Mumbai today.
After the successful auction of 64 coal mines in the first five tranches, Ministry of Coal had launched the process for auction of 133 coal mines under 6th round of commercial auctions of which 71 coal mines are new coal mines and 62 coal mines are rolling over from earlier tranches of commercial auctions held in November 2022. Additionally, eight coal mines under 2nd attempt of 5th round of commercial auctions were also launched where single bids were received in the first attempt. Hence, the biggest tranche of 141 mines covering the eleven coal-bearing states are being offered this time.
Union Minister Prahlad Joshi explained, “Our requirement for coal is increasing, our total dispatch in 2013-14 was 572 million tons, last year it was 817 million tons, this year it will be 900 million tons. Despite this, domestic production will not be able to fulfill full coal demand”. While the total domestic coal production will be 1 billion tons, the total demand would be 1,300 – 1,400 million tons, he added. As the country is aiming to become self-reliant in coal sector, deliberations are in progress on how the country can perform sustainable coal mining, said Coal Minister.
Coal Minister Prahlad Joshi informed that power demand will become double by 2040. Stating that the country’s energy security is quite important, he said, “Even if we produce 50% of that from renewable sources, we would need around 1.5 billion tons of coal, hence there is no need to worry about future of coal”. The Union Minister stated that the country’s target is 100 million tons of gasification by 2030. Towards achieving this end of sustainable coal mining, 50% rebate in commercial coal mining for minimum 10% use in gasification has been given, he added. Also, Rs. 6,000 crore has been earmarked under PLI scheme, coal gasification has been incentivized and removal of entry barriers has attracted new players to the industry, stated Prahlad Joshi.
Union Minister Prahlad Joshi further stated that process of approval of mine plant and geological reports have been simplified and single window clearance has been implemented to speed up operation of allotted coal blocks. The Coal Ministry handholds Project Monitoring Unit and have removed entry barriers, he added.
Citing the example of progress in coal mining at Odisha, Coal Minister informed that the state’s revenue from mining was around Rs. 5,000 crores in 2014-15 and it has now gone up to Rs. 50,000 crores after setting in the major changes in mining sector in 2020-21. Invoking the spirit of cooperative federalism, the Centre and states will together make a big transformation to the coal and mining sector and contribute positively to the economy, said Union Coal Minister.
Union MoS for Railways, Coal and Mines Raosaheb Patil Danve said that coal sector has the responsibility to not only produce power, but also protect the environment. “It is our responsibility to rehabilitate farmers whose land has been taken for coal or mining blocks, I am confident that together we will fulfill this responsibility”, he added. Raosaheb Danve Patil further stated, “By 2030, we will attain coal production of 1.5 billion tonnes”.
Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde said that the State Government is focused on making Maharashtra mining intensive investor-friendly hub in Vidarbha and Konkan regions. It will encourage mineral-friendly industries in these regions, he added. “With right policy measures, we can explore untapped mineral potential for economic, social and industrial development”, further stated Maharashtra CM. He urged the Union Coal Ministry to start a coal research institute in Maharashtra in similar lines to the one started in Jharkhand. He also said that re-starting of 20 closed mines in Maharashtra by the Centre has created job opportunities in the region.
Coal Secretary Amrit Lal Meena said that investment in coal provides long-term returns, high rate and assured demand for coal in the times to come.
Maharashtra’s Mining Minister Dadaji Bhuse also participated in the deliberations.
Earlier in the day, the Union Coal Minister and MoS (Coal) held a review meeting with power generation companies, including the state’s MAHAGENCO, and ensured adequate supply of coal to them.