New Delhi: The Group of Ministers (GoM) on coal that met for nearly two hours on Thursday, failed to take a decision on ways to boost production of the resource, but agreed to meet again on July 2, coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said.
“There was no decision. A lot of discussions took place,” Jaiswal said speaking to reporters after the meeting. “We have agreed that on 2nd July, GoM will meet again.”
Jaiswal said the meeting asked for a lot of data to be collected that will be deliberated upon at the next meeting.
“Data will be collected on how many projects are pending. How many more projects have to come up. How much production can take place. What is the requirement,” Jaiswal said.
India’s coal shortfall in the current financial year is seen at 80 million tonnes (mt) up from nearly 70mt in 2010-11 and demand is expected to rise above 100mt by next year with India’s production unable to keep pace with the growing demand from power, cement and steel plants.
“The government is worried now, so they are trying to do something,” said an analyst. ”But first they have to sort the ’go-no go’ issue to make any progress.”
In 2009 Environment Ministry had disallowed about 203 coal blocks with the potential to produce 660mt of coal a year from operating as they fell in thickly forested areas but now they are a bone of contention as the need to shore up coal production has become urgent and ministers are seeking ways to arrive at a compromise.