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Coal Minister Jaiswal hails MCL during Odisha Visit

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By Hemanta Pande: Coal Minister Shriprakash Jaiswal in a press conference at Congress Bhawan, Bhubaneswar on Tuesday made it clear that it is quite difficult to re-allocate coal blocks earlier given to the State public sector undertakings and which were de-allocated later by his ministry.

Jaiswal, who is on a two-day visit to Odisha, said that the performance and production of Mahanadi Coalfields Limited ( MCL) would definitely fulfill the ever rising demand of coal in our country.

The minister also thanked the Railway Ministry for their timely cooperation to liquidate 25 percent of total old coal stocks of the nation.

Jaiswal also emphasized the importance of power sector in growth of our country’s industrialization and economy. Besides thermal power, the minister said, “We need to produce more coal to meet the nations’ demand for more industrial growth considering the balanced environmental issue.”

“On this UPA-ll tenure, overall annual growth of coal production is 1 percent in the country.” He added.

In a question to why his ministry is treating step-motherly treatment to Odisha and  did de-allocate some major coal blocks of state PSUs, the minister replied, the de-allocation of coal blocks by  Coal Ministry is  taken after the recommendation of  an  inter-ministerial high-level committee based on the performances and progress of the said coal blocks.

It is to be noted that the Coal Ministry had de-allocated five coal blocks in Talcher coalfield __ Utkal-D, Mandakini-B, Baitarani-W, Naini and New Patrapada blocks given to different State PSUs and private companies. These five coal blocks together have a reserve of about 3,497 MT of coal.

In addition, the Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC), Odisha Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC) and Odisha Thermal Power Corporation Limited (OPTCL) had lost coal blocks for non-performance.

Answering to another question, why there is no additional royalty to economically backward state like Odisha in coal sector, the minister said, the UPA-ll government has increased 15 percent royalty in coal sector across the country and odisha will be benefitted.

However, jaiswal surprised one and all when he revealed that he didn’t know the existence of Sainik Mining & Allied Services Ltd (SMASL) which is now under CBI enquiry.

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