Discounting any immediate plans to stop coal imports, Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday that the government will open more than 60 coal mines across the country in the coming days.
“I am delighted to announce that 60 new mines are to open in the coming days. A detailed mine-by-mine study has been made out and put on the (ministry) website so that even you all can monitor the progress of new mines,” Goyal told media persons in the national capital, highlighting the achievements of the Narendra Modi government in its first year in office.
He said the new mines were part of the overall plan for state miner Coal India (CIL) to double its current production of 500 million tonnes per annum in five years to reach the country’s total production target of 1,500 million tonnes by 2020.
“Coal India achieved a record 32 million tonnes increase in production of the fossil fuel in the last year”, he added.
“The increased coal production led to a 12 per cent increase in power production last year,” the minister said.
Announcing that micro-grid and off-grid solutions are being worked out to provide power to 28 crore people in rural India who are still without electricity, Goyal said in reply to a question that 1,500 villages were electrified in the one year the NDA government has been in power.
Declaring that coal imports would continue for the time being, Goyal said: “We will be self-reliant in coal production in the years to come.”
An official statement from the power ministry on Wednesday said: “Clean energy will be prioritised with 25 solar parks of about 100 MW each planned and a Rs 38,000 crore green energy corridor being set up to transmit renewable energy.”
“All bulbs to be replaced with LEDs over next three years resulting in huge savings in power bills for consumers while proposed amendments to Electricity Act will give consumers power to choose and change power supplier with competition improving affordability and service,” it added.
Asserting that the government’s priority was to focus on development of backward regions, the statement added: “Investment of Rs 9,865 crore approved for upgrading power systems in eight north eastern states (Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura). Transmission line approved with investment of Rs 26,000 crore to evacuate power to southern region from western region.”