While the government was able to ramp up coal production in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh, it was still struggling in Odisha, union minister for coal and railways, Piyush Goyal said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi on Wednesday. “When the Odisha chief minister (CM) came down to Delhi, while he wanted to talk about his own agenda, I was more keen to flag of with him the issue which the coal sector was facing in Odisha, which is one of the prime places from where coal will come for rest of the country,” said Goyal while addressing an ‘ASSOCHAM Interactive Session on Coal Industry.’
The minister said that he had sought Odisha CM’s help in increasing coal production in the state by getting land, making railway line, sorting out law and order issues and stopping harassment of coal mines by BJD (Biju Janta Dal) MLAs, particularly in Talcher which has the potential to provide coal to the power plants in rest of the country. “But I did not get the kind of support which I should have got,” added Goyal. The biggest beneficiary, he said, would have been the state and people of Odisha. “State would get royalties, huge employment for people who for many years remained deprived of progress and development.”
He further said that District Mineral Foundation (DMF), started by the union government would have got money for tribal areas and backward districts to help improve life of people living in those unfortunate circumstances. Goyal also informed that public sector majors NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation) and BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited) are both working for recalibrating turbines to use domestic coal in bigger measure.
“Many turbines in India cannot take beyond a certain percentage of domestic coal as they have been designed on imported coal (technology), I am glad that NTPC and BHEL are both working to recalibrate those plants,” said Goyal while addressing an ‘ASSOCHAM Interactive Session on Coal Industry.’ “Even if it needs further investments we will allow it as a pass-through in power pricing but try and enable yourself to use domestic coal, it is worth the saving for the nation as a whole,” said Goyal. The union minister for railways also informed that his ministry was looking at changing the return that is allowed to companies or investors to own railway assets.