New Delhi: The Coal Ministry is set to launch within a fortnight an electronic platform to address all regulatory hurdles related to coal mines that would be on the pattern of Prime Minister's Project Monitoring Group.
The platform will help government ramp up the country's coal production to about 1.4 billion tonnes over the next few years. "We are creating an electronic platform in the Coal Ministry where we will house these problems and take it up on a regular basis as we did in the PMG with the concerned agencies including Environment ministry and state governments," Coal Secretary Anil Swarup told reporters on the sidelines of a workshop organised by industry body Ficci here today.
The closed-door workshop was on evolving strategies that would help the world's largest coal miner CIL reach production of a billion tonnes by 2019. Swarup said the platform, to be set up in 15 days, would be for resolving issues for ramping up Coal India Ltd's production from the present level of 460 million tonnes to 1 billion tonnes over the next five years.
"We will travel to states...and try to resolve the issues...related to construction of rail line. Issues can relate to Ministry of Environment and Forests...to any other ministry. So, this platform will than inter-face with those ministries," the Secretary said.
Last year, the PMG was set up to resolve specific issues holding up various projects entailing big investments and fast -tracking them. Swarup said the government is looking at various issues that would come in the way of ramping up the production both in terms of environment clearance and land acquisition. The problem is as much of production as of evacuation, he said, adding that the government is focusing on a number of railway lines for evacuating the coal.
He expressed the hope that the three prominent rail lines in Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh would be completed by December 2017. "The way they are going they should be completed and they will enable evacuation of additional 200 million tonnes," he said, adding that are other railway lines which are being being identified to evacuate coal.
"So it is a very comprehensive action plan in terms of determining what has to be done for evacuation and to also ensure that this evacuation plan works through. So it is an action plan rather than merely a strategy paper or approach paper to increase production. As I said it will be mine wise action plan for improving production," the Secretary said. The Secretary further said that various subsidiaries of Coal India have already worked out details on how to reach 925 million tonnes production and they are further working on augmenting it to one billion tonne.
For the ongoing projects, financial commitments were already in place and for future funding the government may look at setting up joint ventures, SPVs and arrangements of financial instruments, Swarup said. "For ongoing projects, financial commitments have already happened but in the future we are looking to using Coal India resources to set up joint ventures or SPVs or arrangements or financial instruments through which the funding can happen through Coal India also," he said.
As per the projections, the country would require 1.4 billion tonnes of coal by 2019-20, he said, adding that "It is the projection. And rest may be more. If we have more, we will export."
He also said that the government's objective is to eliminate imports totally and if possible by 2019-20....