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Minister vows to help Jharkhand bloom

Ranchi, Aug. 20: Union minister Piyush Goyal, in Ranchi today to oversee arrangements for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit tomorrow, promised all possible help to spur development in Jharkhand, while chief minister Hemant Soren raised concerns over the environmental impact of indiscriminate mining at a meeting with him here today.

Goyal, who is minister of state with independent charge of power, coal and new & renewable energy, held a meeting with Hemant and his team of senior bureaucrats at Project Building to discuss ways to speed up coal, power and other related projects in the state.

The closed-door meeting, which began around 11am went on for an hour and-a-half. It was attended by chief secretary Sudhir Prasad, DGP Rajeev Kumar, chief minister’s principal secretary S.K. Satpathy, home secretary N.N. Pandey, revenue & land reforms secretary J.B. Tubid and others.

“Many important issues which need to be resolved at the level of the state and the Centre were discussed. There is a need to increase production of coal in the state. Around 10,000 jobs would be created in the state in the coal and power sector in the near future,” Goyal told mediapersons.

The chief minister, he added, had raised certain issues on coal royalty, pollution and mining, which he would look into.

Goyal said Prime Minister Modi would kick start developmental projects in Jharkhand in various sectors, including power, which would benefit the state immensely.

On his part, Hemant maintained that the Centre should carefully consider the state’s concerns about pollution of the environment, particularly rivers, due to various companies that were continuing mining activity without formal lease renewals.

Hemant also sought an increase in the rate of royalty of minerals, including coal, which was now at the level of 14 per cent from 21 per cent in 1994.

Goyal recalled that the foundation stone of NTPC’s North Karanpura Super Thermal Power Project in Chatra district had been laid by then prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee over a decade ago.

But, the project was yet to take off. The Modi government, he promised, would now ensure its smooth completion.

“We have already initiated a move to float tenders. The Centre is committed to steer Jharkhand towards prosperity,” he added.

Goyal denied the Modi government was grabbing credit for all the good work initiated by UPA government of former prime minister Manomhan Singh. “This is a baseless allegation. Our Prime Minister is deeply concerned about positive growth of Jharkhand. His entire council of ministers, too, is committed to leave no stone unturned to put the state on the right track,” he added.