Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal on Thursday said his Ministry is committed to eliminating coal mafia and bringing to an end its nexus with corrupt officials.
The crackdown on coal mafia initiated by the Coal Ministry would continue and the drive would be intensified in January next year to cleanse the system, Jaiswal told PTI.
Mafia, pilferage and theft were eating into productivity and profitability of the coal companies and it was only in the second term of the UPA regime that concrete steps of eliminating these anti-social elements were taken, he said.
CBI raided premises of about 10 coal mafia, contractors and officials after the Ministry's drive, Jaiswal said, adding it was for the first time in Ministry's history that officials of the rank of CMD and Chief Managing Director were booked by the CBI.
He expressed hope that in next few years his Ministry would be able to weed the evil out from the system.
Earlier, he had said that about 10,000 mafia groups operated in the country mostly concentrated in Coal India Ltd collieries and the annual plunder is not less than 5-6 million tonnes causing huge loss to the state exchequer.
India is home to cumulative coal reserves of 267 billion tonnes, the largest in the world, and the fossil fuel accounts for 55 per cent of the country's energy needs.
Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa are the main coal producing states.
State-owned CIL, which accounts for over 80 per cent of the domestic coal production through its seven subsidiaries, produced 431.5 million tonnes of dry fuel in 2009-10.