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Odisha govt plea on cancelled coal blocks to state PSUs under study: Centre

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 10:

The Centre today said it would consider the request of the Odisha government for allocation of the cancelled coal blocks to state PSUs and Independent Power Producers (IPPS).

Coal Secretary Anil Swarup
Coal Secretary Anil Swarup

“The state government has submitted a proposal seeking re-allocation of coal blocks in favour of some PSUs and IPPs. We will examine those proposals,” Union Coal secretary Anil Swarup told reporters after reviewing the progress of 15 coal projects at a high-level meeting presided over by chief secretary GC Pati at the State Secretariat here.

“We reviewed 15 projects and found that the critical issues relating to many coal blocks have been addressed and resolved by the state government,” he added.

He also praised the efforts of the state government for development of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) coal blocks.

Swarup made particular mention of Jharsuguda-Barapali railway project which he said is a very critical project from the view point coal transport.

“The progress in this project is more rapid than that of similar projects in other states,” he said adding that the Coal ministry has set the target of increasing coal production to 1 billion tone by 2019 in which Odisha has a very important role to play.

At the meeting, the chief secretary directed the concerned departments to complete the assigned tasks relating to development of coal blocks within the timeline set for each project.

He also asked the MCL authorities to prepare a comprehensive exit plan for exhausted coal mines involving the state government so that the area can be rehabilitated appropriately for creation of livelihood options and conservation of environment.

The projects reviewed at the meeting were Kaniha Opencast Coal Mining Project, Ananta Opencast Expansion project, Lingaraj Opencast project, Natraj Underground Mines, Gopal Prasad Opencast project, Talabira Opencast project, Kulda Opencast project, Hingula Opencast project phase-III, Bhubaneswari Opencast project, Balaram Opencast extension, Bharatpur Opencast expansion Phase-II & III, Sairamam Opencast project and Lajkura Opencast project.

The meeting also discussed exploration proposal of 13 Central Mine Planning and Development Institute (CMPDIL) coal blocks in in Angul, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh districts. The total forest area to be explored in these blocks is around 43 sq km.

Besides, issues relating to forest diversion, construction of rehabilitation colony, laying of infrastructure in rehabilitation area, payment of compensation, tree felling, shifting of electricity lines, required fresh land acquisition, shifting of people to transit camp etc were also discussed at the meeting.

Among others, additional chief secretary, Revenue and Disaster Management Taradatt, principal secretary, Fisheries and Animal Resources Development RK Verma, secretary Steel and Mines Srinivas Guddy, secretary, Industries, Vishal Dev, RDC, Sambalpur Pramod Meherda, managing director Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) SN Girish, MCL advisor RN Reddy, MCL CMD AN Sahay and senior officials from the concerned departments and MCL were present at the meeting.