BHUBANESWAR: Union Coal Secretary Sumanta Chaudhuri urged coal producers in the country to operationalise their coal mines within two years from the date of allocation.
Speaking at a stakeholder consultation meet on issues related to coal sector organised by Ministry of Coal in collaboration with FICCI, here on Friday, he said it is not acceptable to take six years to operationalise a coal block which has been the usual practice.
"The Ministry has taken several policy decisions to ensure the early operationalisation of coal mines, transparency and simplification of operations. We need to pull up our socks and start production in two years to two-and-half years," Chaudhuri said.
The Coal Secretary informed that the plans are afoot to scrap the need for State Governments to take approval from the Centre prior to granting a mining lease to companies and it would help speed up operationalisation of coal mines.
Chief Secretaries of all States having coal blocks have been asked to facilitate project proponent in the acquisition of land, streamline various processes for granting environmental and forest clearances and expedite grant of mining leases, he said.
The Centre has planned to auction 42 coal blocks in one go which is probably the single largest tranche ever put to auction. It will be followed by more blocks in the next phase.
Stating that the last date for bidding has been extended by two weeks and the Coal Ministry is promoting ease-of-doing-business to attract more players to operationalise the existing mines, Chaudhuri urged intending bidders to participate. The auction process is expected to complete by November.
"Several measures are being taken to hasten coal projects in the pipeline. Now the sale of 25 per cent of coal is allowed in case of allocation for specified end-use plants. Additional relaxation is also being given in efficiency parameters including clubbing of milestones and provision of a grace period," he said.
The Secretary stressed on use of technology to expedite operationalisation process and make mining operation incident-free. While all public sector operators have been asked to use mechanised loading systems like silos or belt conveyors for transportation of coal to eliminate the first-mile road transport of coal from large mines for reducing traffic congestion and accidents, he said private operators should also follow suit.
"A single window system is being developed for faster approvals of clearances from various Central and State agencies. It consists of a common application form which will move parallelly as well as subsequently as the case may be and an online dashboard to monitor the movement of application for various approvals," Chaudhuri added.