India aims to stop thermal coal imports from FY 2023-24

India will stop importing thermal coal from the financial year 2023-24 as part of a perspective plan for the coal sector, union minister of coal and mines Prahlad Joshi stated at a brainstorming session at Kevadia in Gujarat.

He was chairing a session at the two-day `Chintan Shivir’ organised on 17 and 18 February. The session was organized to find a way forward for the coal sector. 
“The Shivir has engaged the participants in contemplating and deliberating to think out of the box to overcome various bottlenecks and provide innovative solutions to the Indian coal sector” Prahlad Joshi said while interacting with the media on the sidelines of the Shivir.
The minister said that various ways and means were discussed with key stakeholders to achieve 1 billion tonne coal production target by Coal India Limited (CIL) by the 2023-24 financial year. The ministry of coal will coordinate with Indian Railways and the ministry of shipping and enable CIL, captive and commercial miners evacuate more coal by 2030.
Stressing on the need for diversification of the coal sector, the minister said that ideas have also been mooted that CIL could think of coming up with the state of the art pithead thermal power plants to transform it into an integrated energy company. It was also proposed that CIL could generate 5 GW of solar power by FY2023-24 and could diversify into coal gasification with a target of 50 million tonnes by 2030, enabling a sustainable energy mix for the country. All these ideas will be deliberated, studied and examined for their feasibility in detail and based on that, they could be implemented. 
The minister further stressed on the safety of workers in the coal mining sector and has urged coal companies to achieve zero mortality rate by FY2023-24.
He also announced that the ministry of coal will introduce a “Coal Minister's Award” soon to recognise and appreciate best practices in coal production, productivity, safety, sustainability etc by the coal companies. 
The minister further stated that drilling agencies like Central Mine Planning and Design Institute(CMPDI) and the Geological Survey of India (GSI) should benchmark their operations to global standards by digitising their databases, adding that it would enable better utilisation in years to come.
During the two-day Shivir, strategies were evolved for sustainable mining, environmental conservation, use of clean coal technologies and for extending helping hand to all stakeholders in and around coal mining areas to coexist in a mutually sustainable manner.