The Centre has urged the State government to make all coal blocks within its jurisdiction operational as soon as possible.
Last year, the Centre had allotted 53 Schedule II and Schedule III coal mines to several States under the provisions of the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015. Though the mines were to start production by June this year, Cabinet Secretary P.K. Sinha during a recent review meeting found that many States had failed to the meet the deadline.
Mr. Sinha has directed Maharashtra Chief Secretary D.K. Jain to sort out the delays in securing environment clearances and clearing pending court cases.
A total of 13 Schedule III mines in States such as Maharashtra and Karnataka are yet to begin operations. A senior bureaucrat in the State government said, “Some of the mines have been leased out by Maharashtra. Their non-functioning has resulted in coal shortage and eventual power shortage.” He said coal mines had been allotted to public and private sector undertakings.
The provisions of the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act had allowed the Centre to allocate mines for specified end-use projects such as power, steel, cement, captive power production and sale of coal. The mines were auctioned after the Supreme Court in September 2014 cancelled 204 blocks allotted to private and public companies since 1993 under the provisions of Coal Mines (Nationalisation) Act, 1973.
State officials said they have held meetings with representatives, allottees, and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to expedite production in the coal mines. The official said, “We are updating our progress regularly on the Coal Project Monitoring portal of the Ministry of Coal. We have also issued notices seeking explanations on hurdles hampering mine development to the parties concerned.” Maharashtra is one of the leading States in electricity generation. It topped the national rankings in 2014-15 by generating 1,13,787 million units.
We have issued notices seeking explanations on hurdles hampering mine development to the parties concerned
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