NEW DELHI: Pralhad Joshi, Union Minister of Coal and Mines, on Friday said that Coal Ministry has accepted the suggestion of Chhattisgarh government to replace 05 mines out 09 mines put under commercial coal auctions in the state. In addition, 03 new mines will be added for commercial auction on the suggestion of Chhattisgarh government.

Reportedly, The total number of mines put on auction in the state for commercial mining shall be 07 while the overall reserve of the coal of all auctioned mines shall remain almost same.

While interacting with media after meeting with the state Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel in Raipur, Joshi said that “the meeting was very positive, progressive and open minded. We have discussed various issues related to coal mining in the state. Chief Minister has also given some good suggestions on DMF and NMET on which we will consider positively.”

During the meeting with Chhattisgarh’s CM, it was also decided to get a proposal by a committee comprising of CIL, Chhattisgarh government and MAHAGENCO officials in 15 days for shifting of a railway line of Chhattisgarh East Railway Limited (CERL).

A proposal in a month will also be submitted by CMPDI and officials of Chhattisgarh government for using mined out lands for dumping fly ash. The state will form a nodal agency to ensure supply of coal to the retail consumers of coal. Discussions were also made to contain petty crimes related to coal in the state.

While talking to the media, Joshi said that commencement of commercial coal mining will start new era of growth & development in Chhattisgarh. Under commercial coal mining the state will fetch minimum Rs. 4,400 crores revenue in one year. It will also create around 60,000 additional employment to the people of the State.

Additionally, commercial coal mining will contribute around Rs. 25 crores to the various District Mineral Foundation (DMF) funds of the State which can be used for inclusive development of regions surrounding coalfield areas.

He also reviewed the performance of SECL with company’s top officials and discussed coal evacuation issues with railway officials. He acknowledged the hard work Coal Warriors have put through in the last few months even while the country has been grappling with a pandemic.

Also, he interacted with representatives of sponge iron & steel industry and took their feedback on various issues pertaining to the sector.

Stressing upon the importance of coal mining for Chhattisgarh, Union Minister said that “the State has the largest coal mine in Asia and it plays crucial role in fulfilling the power demands of country. Coal mining also helps Chhattisgarh in fulfilling its aspirations for growth & development. “

In the last 4 years, more than Rs. 13,200 crores have been paid to the State as part of statutory levies by SECL. Moreover, with enhanced coal production, SECL will pay around Rs. 22,900 crores as revenue to the State’s exchequer in the next 4 years. SECL’s holding company, Coal India Limited (CIL) has planned Rs. 26,000 crores capex for developing infrastructures across Chhattisgarh in the next 4 years.

Highlighting the efforts of government in building new infrastructure for rapid & smooth coal evacuation, Joshi pointed out that the Chhattisgarh East Railway Limited (CERL), a joint venture of SECL, IRCON & CSIDC is developing a rail corridor. CERL has incurred more than Rs 2,000 crores capex till date.

Notably, the CERL rail corridor is meant for meeting the logistic 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 kilometre 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-Plama Block of Coal Mines. In the Phase I, 43 kilometres long section from Kharsia to Korichapar has already been commissioned for goods traffic.