Need to open more underground mines, says Coal India
Most of the beneficiaries of the coal blocks, which were alleged by CAG of making whopping profits, remained non-committal on the findings of the auditor. The companies said that except one, mining activities in the remaining 56 blocks are yet to start.
Some of the players that Business Line spoke to claimed that their mines are still awaiting forest and environment clearances.
Sources also indicated cases such as Adani Power which was allocated Lohara West and Lohara Extension coal blocks in November 2007 but later surrendered.
The company returned these mines to the Government in November 2009 post opposition from the environmentalists. These blocks were located close to the Tadoba Tiger reserve, a project tiger destination.
But, the companies mostly remained tight-lipped after the CAG report was tabled in Parliament. Companies such as Tata Power, Essar, Monnet Ispat, Adani and JSW did not respond to queries from Business Line.
Public sector miner Coal India Ltd admitted that CAG findings with regard to dip in production from underground mines are correct.
“Production from underground mines is dipping because these are old mines. The technical reason is that production area is getting distant that leads to fall in output. Coal India needs to open more underground mines to increase production,” Coal India Chairman and Managing-Director, S Narsing Rao, told Business Line.