The bulging coal imports,which may cross 150 million tons(mt) in 2012-2013,warrant increased competition in exploration and production of the dry fuel in India and the government is trying to gain consensus on allowing commercial mining of coal in the country,coal minister sriprakash Jaiswal has said.
“Ideally,the coal sector should have been opened for commercial mining in line with the energy sector reforms that followed in the early nineties,”he said.
The Indian government is trying to gain consensus on the issue and legislation regarding this is pending in parliament,the minister said.About the likely benefits of opening up,he said commercial coal mining will promote competition and better coal pricing in the country.
The primary objective,Jaiswal noted,is to increase domestic production,which is falling short of demand in recent years.In 2012-2013,India is targeting to produce around 574 mt of coal,which leaves a gap of 150 mt as compared to the total requirement.
Under present circumstances,the government is encouraging acquisition of coal properties abroad,the development of domestic infrastructure and sprucing up port capacities to handle imports.