Union Coal and Mines Minister Prahlad Joshi met Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel here on Friday and agreed to drop coal mines in dense forest areas and elephant corridor from the upcoming auction for commercial mining.
This came during a detailed discussion between Baghel and Joshi on various issues related to coal production and mines in Chhattisgarh, an official statement said.
The Chief Minister demanded that the additional levy of Rs 4,140 which was deposited by industrialists to the Central government as per the instructions of the Supreme Court before 2014 should be transferred to the state.
Joshi agreed to the demand saying that the Central government has filed an application in the Supreme Court for disposing the aforementioned amount.
Baghel also demanded a transfer of the penalty amount of Rs 10,129 crore to the state, based on the Supreme Court’s decision in a common cause case, the statement said.
Baghel also demanded issue of guidelines for SECL to increase production in Gare Pelma mines, utilization of water logged in coal mines for safe drinking water supply and irrigation, return of land to the state government after completion of mining process, and immediate action on the mines of SECL that have been shut down for proper disposal of fly ash.
The Union Minister consented to form a joint team of CMPDIL, SECL and state officials.
The Chief Minister requested that the state government should be appointed as an agency on the proposal to provide coal to local small-scale industries of Chhattisgarh.
The Chhattisgarh government sought amendments in the royalty rates for iron ore.
Baghel said that under the National Exploration Mineral Trust (NMET), Chhattisgarh has deposited about Rs 300 crores with the Centre. He drew Joshi's attention towards simplification of rules for the use of this amount and for authorizing the state governments to select minerals for mineral exploration.
The Union Minister agreed to the demands, the statement said.
A presentation by the Secretary of the Ministry of Coal said that despite reserves of about 150 billion tonnes of coal in India, coal is being imported from Australia, Indonesia and other countries. Therefore, there is a need to make India self-sufficient in the matter of coal by proper planning.
Senior officials from the Central and state governments attended the meeting besides Coal India Ltd Chairman Pramod Aggarwal.