Allow private mining of coal: Planning Commission

New Delhi, Nov 12 : The government should look at a new policy which allows private players to take up coal mining, the Planning Commission said Tuesday.

In his address at a conference here on re-energising the Indian coal sector, Commission member B.K. Chaturvedi said the government's policy on coal was in dire need of revamp so as to allow private companies into coal mining.

State-miner Coal India currently enjoys a near-monopoly of mining the resource in India.

If opening up of the sector to the private players is not feasible, the government should allow some of the major companies to invest and use the best technologies to mine coal in India by substantially incentivizing their initiative, Chaturvedi said.

Highlighting another critical issue, Chaturvedi said the time taken for clearances and land acquisition by state government is too long, while state governments could be incentivized for expediting the process.

Coal Secretary S.K. Srivastava told media persons Monday that auction of coal blocks to private companies will take place within the current financial year.

The union cabinet has already approved the methodology for auctioning coal blocks and providing for upfront and production-linked payments.

The policy provides for a production-linked payment on a rupee per tonne basis and an upfront payment of 10 percent of the coal block's intrinsic value.

The government has already allocated 17 coal mines to central and state public sector units.

--IANS (Posted on 12-11-2013)

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