Pralhad Joshi became India’s first Union Coal Minister to visit the Jhanjra mine of Eastern Coalfields (ESL), which is also the country’s highest producing underground mine.

“Visited the Jhanjra underground mine of @easterncoal, which has a depth of 225 mtr below the surface. At 3.5 million tonnes per year (MTPA) capacity, this is the highest coal producing mechanised underground mine of India,” Joshi tweeted.

Saluting the grit and hard work of coal miners, the Minister said he travelled 1.5 km inside the Jhanjra underground mining to reach a depth of 225 meters below ground level and have a first hand experience of difficult conditions faced on a daily basis by coal warriors.

Joshi also visited the Sonepur Bazari mine of ESL, where he inaugurated a silo-loading system, which will help boost the PSUs loading efficiency.

The Sonepur Bazari opencast mine of ESL has a capacity of producing 12 MTPA of coal. The Minister directed concerned officials to increase the production from 35,000 tonnes to 45,000 tonnes per day. He also interacted with the workers and motivated them to keep contributing towards India’s progressJoshi said in another tweet.

Coal output

During FY22, ESL’s coal production stood at 32.428 million tonnes (MT), with 8.996 MT from underground mines and 23.432 MT from opencast mines, with a negative growth of 27.944 per cent over FY21.

A subsidiary of Coal India (CIL), ESL operates in West Bengal and Jharkhand with 14 operating areas and 80 working mines. Of this, 48 are underground mines, 23 opencast mines and 9 are mixed mines. As of April 2021, ECL had a coal reserve of 54.365 Billion Tonne in its command areas (33.077 billion tonne in West Bengal and 21.288 billion tonne in Jharkhand).