Union minister Piyush Goyal on Sunday said importing coal is "unjustified" at a time when the country is sitting on reserves totalling 300 billion tonne.
"When the country is sitting on a huge coal reserve, to import it is unjustified. The production of coal has risen from 432 million tonne to 460 million tonne and will cross 493 million tonne this year, which will be an increase of over 30 million tonne," Goyal told a press conference in Nagpur.
The Union minister of state for coal said that the BJP-led government at Centre has accorded a top priority to coal and generation of power and that all-out efforts are being made to supply coal to electricity generating units across the country.
"The government is also giving mines to states to meet the requirement," the minister said, adding the production of coal by the Coal India Limited has gone up by seven per cent since the BJP government came to power last year.
On the occasion, Goyal hailed Western Coalfields Limited (WCL), a Coal India subsidiary, for pulling the loss-making company out of red and producing 38 million tonne of coal. He said WCL will open a new mine every month.
Goyal said he was surprised to know that around eight crore housewives in the country burn coal to cook food.
Earlier, he inaugurated Penganga open cast mine at Wani in neighbouring Chandrapur district. The mine has the production capacity of four million tonne.
Goyal also dedicated to nation Makardhokra Open Cast and Bhangegaon Open Cast mines having capacity of 2 million tonne and one million tonne, respectively.
Union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Hansraj Ahir along with Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and power minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule were present on the occasion.