Ahmedabad: India will stop thermal coal import from FY 2023-24, said Union Minister of Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi while chairing a Chintan Shivir — a two-day brainstorming session — in Gujarat. The session was organised to find a way forward for the coal sector at Kevadia on February 17 and 18. "The Shivir has engaged the participants in contemplating and deliberating to think out of the box to overcome various bottlenecks and provide innovative solutions to the Indian coal sector," Joshi said while interacting with the media on the sidelines of the programmes.
Highlighting the key takeaways from the two-day event, Joshi said that apart from reducing India's dependence on thermal coal import, various ways and means were discussed with key stakeholders to achieve 1 billion tonnes (BT) coal production target by Coal India Limited (CIL) by FY 2023-24. The Ministry of Coal will coordinate with the Indian Railways and the Shipping Ministry and enable CIL, captive and commercial miners evacuate more coal by 2030.
Stressing upon diversification in the Indian coal sector, the minister said that ideas have also been mooted that CIL could think of coming up with state-of-the-art pithead thermal power plants to transform it into an integrated energy company. It was also proposed that CIL could generate 5 GW of solar power by FY 2023-24 and could diversify into coal gasification with a target of 50 Million Tonnes by 2030, enabling a sustainable energy mix for the country. All these ideas will be deliberated, studied and examined for their feasibility in detail and based on that, they could be implemented.
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The minister further stressed upon the safety of workers in the coal mining sector and urged coal companies to achieve zero mortality rate by FY 2023-24. He also announced that the Ministry of Coal will introduce a "Coal Minister's Award" soon to recognise and appreciate best practices in coal production, productivity, safety, sustainability etc by coal companies.
Joshi also said that drilling agencies like Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDI) and Geological Survey of India (GSI) should benchmark their operations to global standards by digitising their databases. He added that it will enable better utilisation in years to come. During the two-day shivir, strategies were evolved for sustainable mining, environmental conservation, use of clean coal technologies and for extending helping hand to all stakeholders in and around coal mining areas to coexist in a mutually sustainable manner.