Govt mulls CIL-private sector partnership to boost coal supply

The government envisages implementation of a public-private partnership involving Coal India Ltd (CIL) to increase coal production in India and thereby reduce dependence on imports.

The PPP policy framework with CIL as one of the partners will help increase production of coal for supply to power producers and other consumers, minister of state for coal Pratik PrakashBapu Patil informed the Rajya Sabha in a written reply today.

He said the coal ministry has set up a committee to devise a PPP policy framework with CIL as one of the partners in order to increase production of coal.

Besides this, the minister said, the government has taken the following measures to further step up domestic production of coal, which include:

  • Modernisation and technology development and coal quality improvement;
  • Infrastructure development;
  • Periodical review of development of coal blocks;
  • Development of some of the coal blocks assigned to CIL through engaging mine development and operator (MDO);
  • Periodical review of ongoing projects;
  • Constant persuasion with ministry of railways for expeditious implementation of critical rail lines & improved supply of rakes;
  • Regular persuasion with the state governments on the pending issues and law and order problems; and
  • Regular interaction with line ministries and state governments for clearing environment and forest clearances for new projects.

He said actual coal production in India has been lower than the annual targets fixed for Coal India Limited for the past few years. Against the targeted coal production of 460.50 million tonnes in 2010-11, actual production by Coal India Ltd was 431.32 million tonnes (93.7 per cent) while in 2011-12 it was 435.84 million tonnes or 97.5 per cent of the targeted 447 million tonnes. In 2012-13 it was 452.19 million tonnes or 97.4 per cent of the targeted production of 464.10 million tonnes.

The minister said the governments of coal-bearing states have been advised to facilitate and expedite the various clearances, grant of mining leases and land acquisition by the coal blocks allottees so that coal production can be increased.

He said a total of 218 coal blocks with geological reserves of about 50 billion tonnes have been allocated to eligible public and private companies, out of which 178 coal blocks stand allocated as on date after de-allocation/reallocation and withdrawal of de-allocations made. Out of the above, 35 coal blocks have come into production.

He said development of coal blocks involves a gestation period of 3 to 7 years for reaching the production stage and another two to three years for reaching the optimal production capacity. 

As per the guidelines, coal production from a captive coal block should commence within 36 months (42 months in case the area falls in forest land) in case of open cast mines and in 48 months (54 months in case the area falls in forest land) in case of underground mine, from the date of allocation.  If a coal block is not explored, additional two years are allowed for detailed exploration and three months for preparation of geological report.

In order to overcome the impedimentation coming in the way of coal companies taking up of mining projects, he said, the coal ministry has been regularly interacting with the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) as also with the concerned state governments to address the issues related to land acquisition and rehabilitation and resettlement of project affected persons.

The coal ministry has also taken up issues of pending rail infrastructure projects with the ministry of railways for faster evacuation of coal, he added.

However, he said, the responsibility of developing the coal block as per the guidelines and milestone chart attached with the allocation letter rests entirely with the allottee company and the government can only facilitate start of the project.