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All coal blocks would become operational soon: Piyush Goyal

Piyush Goyal coal blocks

Union Minister of State for Power and Coal (independent charge) Piyush Goyal today said here that all the coal blocks in the country will become operational in the next couple of months.

“Soon after the (fresh) auction was over, I called a meeting of all the people who had won coal blocks… We discussed in detail what operational difficulties they have,” he said, addressing a press conference here.

He had been asked why several coal blocks in the state, including some allotted in the latest auction, were idle.

“We immediately set up a coal monitoring portal, in which all the allotees were asked to register and flag difficulties faced by them. Centre, through the coal ministry, is monitoring all these blocks and their difficulties,” he added.

Some mines in the state had started operating, he said.

“During UPA I, Prime Minister’s Office had decided to allocate blocks through auction, but till 2014 no auction process was carried out. We took up auctioning procedure after SC cancelled over 200 allotted coal blocks. Our procedure is completely transparent,” Goyal said.

“Coal secretary would personally visit the states including Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh to review the position of each mine. In next couple of months all the mines will be operational,” he said.

About Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi’s recent visit to villages affected by coal mining in north Chhattisgarh, Goyal said, “I expected that when his party was in rule for last ten years, he would have visited people and realised their pain… His government (UPA) was busy allocating coal mines free of charge to their party MPs and well-wishers.”

While the coal blocks were allotted free of cost during the UPA rule, Chhattisgarh alone was now poised to get a royalty of Rs 1,10,990 crore with fresh allocation of blocks, Goyal claimed.

Earlier, Piyush Goyal inaugurated the newly-built International Institute of Information Technology at Naya Raipur and later chaired a meeting at Mantralaya.

About the meeting, he said the process of setting up power grids would be expedited for smooth transmission of power across the country from here.

“State government has raised the issue regarding setting up power grids during the meeting… Power Grid Corporation of India will be asked to quickly take up the project and expedite the process,” he said.

In the next two and a half years, adequate transmission capacity will be developed in the state so that electricity produced here could be transmitted to other states and people of Chhattisgarh could benefit from this revenue, he said.

LED lights will be installed in every house and street in the state in the next three years, Goyal announced.