New Delhi, June 18 (IANS) The government on Thursday started auction of coal mines for commercial extraction by the private sector, but former Environment Minister and Congress leader Jairam Ramesh criticised the move and termed it "doubly disastrous" from an ecological standpoint as several mines fall in dense forests.
Ramesh in a tweet said, "Several coal blocks put up for auction today fall in dense forest areas classified as ''no-go'' jointly by the Environment Ministry and Coal India in 2010. A doubly disastrous decision from an ecological point of view with terrible public health impacts!"
In a big reform initiative aimed at attracting global investment in the mining sector, the government on Thursday started auction of coal mines for commercial extraction by the private sector.
In all, 41 mines with total geological coal reserve of 17 billion tonnes are on offer under the first phase of commercial coal mine auctions. These include both large and small mines with peak rated capacities (PRC) ranging from 0.5 to 40 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of coal. The cumulative PRC of all mines is 225 mtpa.
The mines on offer are largely fully explored ones meaning that they could be brought to production immediately. Moreover, more coming coal mines are on offer that could provide input to the steel sector.
The mines are located in five states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha.