Coal India’s First Mile Connectivity and railway projects to be brought under National Monetisation Pipeline

India is determined to bring the coal sector under the national monetisation pipeline aggressively even as it has relaxed norms forbidding coal blocks, wanting them to handover over to the qualified bidders, risk-free.

Coal secretary, Anil Kumar Jain, said the government was looking at monetising the first-mile connectivity (FMC) projects and the railway projects, which Coal India Limited (CIL) was developing solely or through JVs. “FMC should be outsourced, we are for the outright sale of CERL (Chhattisgarh East Railway, a venture of CIL, Railways and the Chhattisgarh government). It should be monetised. CIL should be brought under NMP,” said Jain.

CIL has earmarked Rs 14,000 crore investments in two phases by 2025 for the FMC projects and Rs 19,650 crore for the railway projects by 2024 to enhance evacuation of the increased coal production.

Jain, at the Minerals, Mining and Metals e-conclave of the Bengal Chamber of Commerce, said, although the Indian mining and mineral sector has fallen to a degree of uncertainty for the outcome of COP-26, the sector, especially the coal sector, has also witnessed some positive turns with the latest round of coal mines auction getting responses from bidders. Jain said for coal gasification revenue sharing has been raised at 50% from earlier 20%.

Naveen Jindal, chairman, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, said although a lot of initiatives have been taken to reform the mining sector, there should be a single-window mechanism for obtaining all clearances. India, holding the fourth-largest reserves of coal, should create an enabling environment to exploit the reserves decreasing tax burdens and taking care of the fact that the competitiveness of the Indian entrepreneurs doesn’t erode. Europe’s proposition to impose a cross border adjustment mechanism (CBAM), would hurt India, but “we will have to address our environmental concerns without compromising with our economic goals” he said.

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