Stating that CIL alone is not sufficient to meet the country's fuel demand, Union Coal Minister Sripakash Jaiswal today defended the participation of private players in coal mining activities.
"The state-owned Coal India Ltd is not sufficient to meet the demand in the country. Therefore we used private players to raise coal production," Jaiswal said after reviewing the performance of state-owned Mahanadi Coalfield Ltd
Jaiswal, however, said: "We need to maintain a balance between coal raising and environment protection. We must ensure that environment is not affected in the process".
He said the issues like environmental problems, forest and others cannot be ignored even as there is need to increase coal production.
Stating that thermal power can only help the country to meet power requirement, the union minister said the private investors have been allowed to set up thermal power plants.
Jaiswal said MCL has been doing an excellent job though its production target was not increased.
"We have to clear the stock before asking MCL to raise its production level. Thanks to the Railways that has helped in clearing 25 per cent of coal stock," he said.
The Minister said MCL was one of the two major contributors of Coal India Ltd.
"Rise in the coal consumption is an indicator of the country's progress," he said.
Replying a question, Jaiswal said the Ministry has handed over probe of certain irregularities to the CBI. He, however, refused to give any comment on the CBI probe into a deal between the state-owned Odisha Mining Corporation and a Delhi- based entity.
"Ask CBI on the progress of the probe," Jaiswal said to a question on alleged political intervention for slow pace of investigation in the case involving the Odisha government.