FICCI calls for opening up coal exploration

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 07, 2013 05:20 hrs

New Delhi, Feb 6 (IANS) Industry chamber FICCI Wednesday called the government's decision on coal price pooling as short-term solution that would reinforce the inherent inefficiencies in the present exploitation of domestic coal reserves.

It suggested restructuring of state miner Coal India (CIL) and divesting government stake in CIL to 51 percent in tranches as ways of making progress.

"What we should not miss is that pooling of coal prices results in subsidisation of expensive imported coal by cheaper domestic coal. In addition, to greater incomes to other nations, this will also mean creation of more jobs in foreign lands. Besides, this will further reinforce the inherent inefficiencies in the present exploitation of our domestic coal reserves," said Naina Lal Kidwai, president of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

FICCI said the coal sector needs to be strategically developed and no quick-fix solution can work to meet long-term goals.

The industry lobby further suggested opening up of coal exploration for commercial mining to bring in private investments as a means to improve efficiency and accelerate production.

"Competitive bidding of coal blocks and advent of mine developer-cum-operator (MDO) licences are some of the ways to bring in competent players to the sector", FICCI said.

On production, the industry association recommended increased mechanisation in coal mining.

"Techniques and procedures which reduce manual operation and are environmentally benign are needed to be adopted."

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