New Delhi, June 23:
Commencing the process of industry-stakeholder consultations towards preparing a roadmap for commercial mining of coal, the government on Tuesday said it is looking at involving states in the activity.
“We are working parallely in terms of seeing whether the states could be given blocks for commercial mining. We are working towards enabling states to do commercial mining so as to fulfil the requirement of small scale sectors,” Coal Secretary Anil Swarup told reporters here on the sidelines of a workshop organized jointly by the coal ministry and FICCI, where he released the industry chamber’s approach paper on the issue.
“Yes this is the first ever step. The initial paper has been discussed today and they will now finalise the paper on the basis of it. And there will be perhaps more intensive dialogue in terms of the nitty-gritty of doing it. We don’t want to jump anything without understanding the various dimensions of it.
“I think a lovely paper has been prepared by FICCI, and now with the suggestions that have come today I think they will now improve upon this paper and then we will go into the nitty-gritty of how to go about doing it,” he added.
Noting the various issues including whether commercial miners will be asked to sign a revenue-sharing contract or a profit-sharing contract needed to be addressed, Swarup said: “We have a paper… it gets examined at the government level and then we can see what can be adopted and what cannot be. There are a number of considerations that have to be taken into account. This is just a beginning.”
Stressing that there is need to formulate a realistic policy for the success of commercial coal mining in the country, he, however, said state miner Coal India will continue to play a very prominent role to supply fuel at affordable prices so that power tariffs do not go up.
The ordinance promulgated by the government for auctioning the 204 coal blocks cancelled by the Supreme Court last year contained the provision to allow commercial mining by private companies.
“Private participation would bring with it a feasible business plan, viable financing options and much-needed high-end technology,” said FICCI secretary general A. Didar Singh in his address. (IANS)