Coal exploration licences for 166 blocks to be cancelled

December 12th, 2008 - 7:10 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 12 (IANS) Licences for coal exploration in 166 blocks will be cancelled as allottees have not executed promised exploration plans, the government said here Friday.In his address at the International Coal Conference 2008, Minister of State for Coal Santosh Bagrodia also said his ministry has decided to cancel licences for long-term coal linkages to several power plants as these too have failed to explore coal either on their own and through joint ventures with the state-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL).

The decision is yet to be notified.

“The coal ministry had allocated 180 blocks for coal exploration in the last couple of years, of which only 14 blocks have become operational as far as coal production is concerned.”

He said the remaining blocks were still unexplored, which reflected the reluctance of allottees to undertake exploration as promised.

Bagrodia also rejected the industry’s demand that environmental, forest and land acquisition clearances be given for coal exploration on the lines of ultra mega power plants.

The minister said the primary energy requirement (commercial coal, oil, natural gas, hydel, nuclear and non-commercial fuel wood) is growing at 5.8 percent, while secondary energy (electricity and petroleum) was growing at 6.8 percent.

According to him, the primary energy growth will be over five times and secondary energy generation will be around six to seven times in the next two decades.

The coal ministry will import nearly four million tonnes of coal in the next four months out of the total anticipated coal imports of 31 million for fiscal 2008-09.

As regards coal production by March 2009, Bagrodia said he was confident it would be around 515 million tonnes, of which the share of CIL would be over 480 million tonnes.

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