India set to open coal mining to private sector: Official

Kolkata, Feb 24 (IANS) India is set to open up commercial coal mining to the private sector towards boosting the country’s energy self-sufficiency, the government said on Wednesday.

“India is all set to open up commercial coal mining to the private sector with the aim of shifting world’s third largest coal importer towards energy self-sufficiency,” Coal Secretary Anil Swarup told reporters on the sidelines of the 6th Asian Mining Congress here organised by the Mining, Geological and Metallurgical Institute of India.

“Bids are already open for the states and private sector shall soon follow,” he added in this regard.

He also said the Uday Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) discoms’ debt restructuring scheme for state-run power distribution companies is one of the solutions to tackle the surplus production of state miner Coal India, which stands at 40 million tonnes.

“Once financial position of the discoms improve with UDAY scheme they will draw more power which in turn will lead to higher demand for coal in six months,” Swarup said.

“We are trying to supply more coal to power companies and trying to ensure that import demand from the companies in the hinterland is replaced with domestic supplies,” the secretary said.

“We must ensure that coal imports come down with the increase in domestic production. This will also help government save a lot of money,” he added.

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