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Goyal slams state govt for failing to ramp up coal production

Statesman News Service | Bhubaneswar |

Union Minister for Coal and Railways, Mr Piyush Goyal hit out at Odisha government for failing to ramp up coal production. We have been able to increase coal production in states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh, but in Odisha we continue to struggle, he remarked while speaking at an ASSOCHAM event in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Mr Goyal went on to note that Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik only talks of his own agenda whenever he comes to Delhi, but rarely listens to issues raised by us.

The Union Minister said he had sought Odisha CM’s help in increasing coal production in the state by getting land, making railway line, sorting out law and order issues and stopping harassment of coal mines by BJD (Biju Janta Dal) MLAs, particularly in Talcher which has the potential to provide coal to the power plants in rest of the country.

“But I did not get the kind of support which I should have got,” added Mr Goyal. The biggest beneficiary, he said, would have been the state and people of Odisha. “State would get royalty, huge employment for people who for many years remained deprived of progress and development.”

The District Mineral Foundation (DMF), started by the union government would have got money for tribal areas and backward districts to help improve life of people living in those unfortunate circumstances.

Speaking on other issues, Mr Goyal informed that public sector majors NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation) and BHEL (Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited) are both working for recalibrating turbines to use domestic coal in bigger measure.

“Many turbines in India cannot take beyond a certain percentage of domestic coal as they have been designed on imported coal (technology), I am glad that NTPC and BHEL are both working to recalibrate those plants,” said Mr Goyal.

A release issued by ASSOCHAM said Mr Goyal spoke of liberally allowing private players to have their own railway line for rake movement of coal. Coal India Ltd (CIL) had taken a decision to invest to become totally self-sufficient in their rakes and wagons in next five to seven years.

There is a potential that CIL may invest Rs 20,000 crore in this regard, he informed He also said that Indian Railways was aggressively working to finish work on 14 lines dedicated for coal movement which are under different stages of new lines, doubling or tripling of lines which are being personally monitored by coal secretary and chairman of the Railway Board on a monthly basis to make sure there are no slippages.