Government rules out coal price hike

June 24th, 2009 - 7:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, June 24 (IANS) The government is not considering raising coal prices, coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said here Wednesday.
“That is not our priority now,” Jaiswal said when reporters bombarded him with queries on a possible increase rise in coal prices.

“Our priority is to enhance production. We will try to increase production once the rainy season gets over in the next two-three months,” he told reporters on his maiden visit to the headquarters of Coal India, the country’s largest coal miner.

Another priority area, the minister said, was tackling corruption and pilferage in the sector.

“States have been asked to strengthen the intelligence network and ensure strict policing to stop the maladies of corruption and pilferage,” Jaiswal said.

“The state governments have to play a major role in this regard. I am meeting the state government heads. Stopping corruption is the most important task.”

The minister called for mobilisation of the state police forces, adding: “If the intelligence agency is strong, they can give information on who is responsible. We are asking the state governments to set up task forces on this.”

Asked about Coal India diluting stake, Jaiswal said the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was not against disinvestment.

“If there is need for disinvestment, it will be done. But if we take this route for Coal India, then it will be five to ten percent. This will make Coal India stronger,” he said.

The government is also keeping an option of giving shares to Coal India employees and the people whose land has been acquired for mines.

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