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States asked to fast-track coal output

business Updated: Jun 24, 2009 22:29 IST
Jaidev Majumdar
States asked to fast-track coal output

The coal ministry has asked state governments to expedite the process of coal production in several captive blocks that have been lying idle due to a delay in obtaining clearances.

Coal minister Shriprakash Jaiswal on Wednesday said that in the last four years, the Centre has allotted 196 coal mines (with estimated reserves of 40 billion tonnes), of which only 13 have become operational so far. The ministry wants to take up the issue with state governments and expedite the process.

According to Jaiswal, land acquisition and obtaining environmental clearances are the two major handicaps that are delaying the process.

Coal India chairman Partha S Bhattacharya said Coal India was even willing to make changes in its rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) policy to expedite land acquistion issues.

Jaiswal met West Bengal chief minister Buddhadev Bhattacharjee on Wednesday and will soon meet Jharkhand chief minister on the land acquisition issue.