The Indian government feels it is the right time to completely extract the available coal resources in the country in a bid to usher in more capital into investments, develop backward regions and expand industries. The statement comes in the backdrop of a growing debate on climate change and assumptions that the demand of coal may come down after some time.
“Climate change debate is going around. Everyone is now saying that demand for coal may come down after some time. So this is the right time for us to completely fully extract the available coal in the country so that we will be able to bring more capital into investment, develop backward regions and establish good industries and ensure that the country is progressing on the right track,” Coal Additional Secretary M Nagaraju said.
He was speaking during second stakeholders’ consultation on second tranche of auction of coal mines for commercial mining, organised by industry body FICCI. Coal reserves, he said, are situated in the most backward regions where very poor people reside. So the development of these mining blocks will provide them the opportunity for good livelihoods and lift them out of the poverty, Nagaraju noted.
India still imports substantial amount of coal, both coking and non-coking, thereby spending precious foreign exchange, he said. “This year there was decline in import of non-coking coal. But coking coal continues to be on a steady rise,” he explained.
The government has offered 67 coal mines for sale in the second tranche of commercial coal mining auction. This is the highest number of mines on offer in a particular tranche after commencement of the auction regime in 2014. “It will be the biggest offer of coal blocks in the country till now. We are expecting good response from industry for both coking and non-coking coal (blocks),” Nagaraju said.