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Deocha-Pachami coal block to play catalyst for WB’s growth

World’s 2nd largest mine reserves of 2.1 billion tonnes of coal, has employment capacity for 1 lakh.

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

The state is pinning its hopes on the Deocha- Pachami coal Block that the Union government has allocated to the West Bengal Power Development Corporation Ltd ( WBPDCL), the state power utility, for its growth trajectory the state finance minister Mr Amit Mitra said on Wednesday.

Addressing the Global Mining Summit, Mr Mitra said that the state is on upswing and on the right growth trajectory and the allocation of the Deocha-Pachami coal Block ~ the world’s second-largest coal block to the state, with an estimated reserve of 2.1 billion tonnes, will not only act as a catalyst to the state’s growth but will boost the state’s investment scenario to a great extetent.

The finance minister while addressing the gathering at the Global Mining summit after its inauguration at Eco Park said that allocation of the world’s second largest coal mine in Birbhum spread over about nine sq km area superseding other states would be a game changer in the investment scenario in the state.

“It has the potential of an investment of around Rs 12,000 cr and has the employment capacity of 1 lakh people in and around Birbhum district. This will help boost the socio-economic development in the state”, Mr Mitra said.

Mr Mitra informed the gathering that West Bengal has 35 billion tonnes of high grade coal reserves.

He also said that both the public and private sectors will have to invest in mineral exploration to raise the mining output and the mineral inventory in the country, Dr Mitra added while India’s mining sector is growing at 7.3 per cent, the expenditure on exploration is extremely low amounting to 0.3 per cent of the total global spend on exploration. Both public and private sectors should seriously consider investing in exploration.

He reasoned that minerals are non-reproducible and revenue accrued from them are in the form of rent. It is time to ponder upon ways to squeeze out more value beyond the rent, he said.

Delivering his address, Coal India Limited CMD Anil Kumar Jha said sustainable mining is the need of the hour. While total coal reserves in the country is over 300 billion tonnes and would last for 100 years, but there is a pressing need to extract minerals with due adherence to environmental norms.

Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner to India Mr Rod Hilton said, “West Bengal is a priority state for his country and Australia intends to work more closely with the state government on exploration.”

Germany’s Consul General in Kolkata, Dr Michael Feiner said: “India and Germany have strategic partnerships on many areas and both the nations can jointly do more on mining technology. He pointed out that German companies have opened up their manufacturing facilities in India.”