Government To Amend An Act To Speed Up Coal Exploration In India, Reduce Imports
The government will go for coal block auctions in October and November this year for allocation of 46 coal blocks that have a reserve potential of around 100 million tonnes. (Photographer: Sanjit Das/Bloomberg)

Government To Amend An Act To Speed Up Coal Exploration In India, Reduce Imports

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The union government is in the process of amending an act that will allow states to issue mining leases without seeking prior approval from the Centre, Coal Secretary Sumanta Chaudhuri said in Kolkata on Wednesday.

A bill for bringing an amendment to Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, will be introduced in the next session of Parliament, he said.

"The drafting of the MMDR Act Amendment BIll is in the process and will be introduced in the next session of Parliament," Chaudhuri said at an event in Kolkata.

According to the coal secretary, coal block allocation is within the domain of the union government but state governments do have a say. "The role of the state governments is limited in this regard. States are required to seek prior approval from the Centre. We are now in the process of amending this,” he said.

The move would expedite the process of coal exploration in the country, he said.

The government will go for coal block auctions in October and November this year for allocation of 46 coal blocks that have a reserve potential of around 100 million tonnes.

After the amendment of the MMDR Act, exploration from these blocks would come to fruition in 4-5 years, and eventually reduce India’s coal imports, Coal Ministry’s Joint Secretary Ashis Upadhyaya said at the event. "Without the amendment of the MMDR Act, exploration from these blocks would have taken 7-8 years", he added.

The entire mining approval plan will also be digitalised.

Also read: Renewables Unlikely To Surpass Coal As Major Source For Power, Says Coal India Chief

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