India To Invest Rs 1 Lakh Crore In Next 3-4 Years To Increase Coal Production: Minister
Day labourers load coal into trucks at an open pit coal mine in the Bestacolla Colliery in Jharia. (Photographer: Sanjit Das/Bloomberg)

India To Invest Rs 1 Lakh Crore In Next 3-4 Years To Increase Coal Production: Minister

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The central government will invest more than Rs 1 lakh crore in the next 3-4 years to increase India’s coal production and augment facilities for offtake and transportation.

Steps are also being taken to reduce coal imports, Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi said on Saturday. He was speaking at the virtual inauguration of Western Coalfields Ltd.'s mine in Adasa-Nagpur in Maharashtra and two others in Sharda and Dhankasa in Madhya Pradesh with a total capital expenditure of Rs 849 crore.

According to Joshi, Coal India Ltd. has been set a target of producing 1 billion tonnes of coal by 2023-24; for that, 60 new coal blocks have been allotted to it.

"Coal India has coal reserves for about (next) 100 years. We're investing a huge amount of money...more than Rs 1 lakh crore in the next 3-4 years for coal production, coal offtake and transportation. We will come out with the details after taking guidelines from and holding consultations with the prime minister," he said.

Still, there will be shortfall. "Keeping that in mind, we recently announced commercial coal mining and its terms and conditions are very industry-friendly," Joshi said.

The coal minister said that despite having one the largest coal reserves in the world, India has to resort to imports. “We imported 200-240 million tonnes of coal in 2019-20 as international prices were also down. Some other factors were also involved in it. But the overall import is continually increasing.”

Steps are also being taken for step up coal gasification. "A feasibility report has been prepared and the tender process is underway," he said. 20% rebate in royalty will be given to private players if they experiment in coal gasification, he said.

Similarly, steps will be taken for improving the quality of coal. Under the 'Atmanibhar Bharat Abhiyan', many new policy decisions, like removal of end use restrictions, are being introduced. In the next one month, the government will announce auction of 50%-60% mines of other minerals.

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