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Drill for Coal Videsh complete

Calcutta, Sept. 24: The government has put Coal Videsh on fast track. Coal Videsh, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Coal India, is being set up to acquire coking coal mines in Australia and South Africa and non-coking mines in Mozambique and Indonesia.

Coal India has already worked out the memorandum of association for the subsidiary and the proposal has been placed before the cabinet. Once the cabinet clears it, Coal Videsh will be set up.

Coal India chairman Shashi Kumar said, “The process to set up the subsidiary has gathered momentum. The central government is serious about it. A clearer picture will emerge after September 28.”

Kumar was speaking at a national seminar on “Bridging the demand-supply gap for Indian coal industry” organised by the Mining Geological and Metallurgical Institute of India (MGMI).

He spoke of a general apprehension that there is a shortage of coal in the country. “This is not true. We do not envisage any such shortage in the foreseeable future.”

Citing the shortage of coal supply to the power plants, he said that last year 31 power plants suffered from coal shortage. “There is no shortage of coal in 26 power plants. Last year they had stocks of 9 million tonnes. But this year they have stocks of 12 million tonnes. We are trying to sort out the coal shortage problem in the remaining five power plants. Out of this five, three are located near pitheads and can manage coal linkages,” Kumar said.

However, the Coal India chairman said the government should bring in changes in the policy so as to boost production.

He cited three areas where changes should be brought in ' approvals and clearances should be expedited, operational independence should be introduced and land acquisitions should be much faster.

“We have taken certain steps. In the last one year, six approvals for new mines have come in. We expect another 16 approvals for new mines to come in within a month,” Shashi Kumar said.

Coal India had introduced e-auction of coal to streamline the process of coal marketing and to bring in transparency in coal sales. Even after six months of introduction of e-auction, there has not been much development, he said.

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