Our Bureau

New Delhi, March 6

The Ministry of Coal is all set to push for the speedy approval of the Coalmines Nationalisation (Amendment) Bill 2000 in order to pave the way for public and private Indian companies to take up coal mining without the present restriction of captive mining.

The decision was taken after deliberations in the Energy Coordination Committee headed by the Prime Minister, the Minister for Coal, Mr Dasari Narayan Rao, said in his keynote address at the Coaltrans conference here.on Monday.

However, since it is a major policy issue, there is a need for wider consultation with political parties and trade unions and the Government will initiate the process soon, he said.

According to the Ministry's estimates, coal demand in the year 2024-25 is expected to reach 1,267 million tonnes against the current demand of 445 million tonnes. This will require investments to the tune of Rs 1,36,000 crore by 2024-25 which is approximately $30 billion.

"The investments include about $22 billion in open cast mining, $4 billion in underground mining, $2 billion in coal beneficiation and another $2 billion in overseas equity and exploration," the Minister said.

The Coal Vision document prepared by the Ministry has also highlighted the necessity for dedicated railway lines for freight transport. Coal currently accounts for approximately 43 per cent of the railways' total freight earnings.

For Coal India Ltd, the target set for the year 2024-25 is 839 million tonnes compared to the present production level of 343 million tonnes, Mr Rao said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 7, 2006)
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