India Opens 52 New Coal Mines To Achieve Universal Electrification

  • Date: 06/02/19
  • Times of India & Press Trust of India

NEW DELHI: The Narendra Modi government has opened 52 new coal mines since coming to power in May 2014 to fuel its flagship village and household electrification programmes without tripping the system, officials told TOI.

These 52 mines represent 86% growth over the number of mines added in the five-year period between 2009 and 2014, when most projects were stuck in red tape, especially pertaining to environment and forest clearances, before the NDA government took over.

The officials said structural reforms in the government’s functioning since 2014 made it possible to quickly open such a large number of coal mines, a cumbersome process involving approvals and permissions from various statutory authorities.

The new mines have added 164 MT (million tonne) to India’s annual coal production capacity, marking 113% increase over capacity added during the 2009-2014 period. Since 57% of power is generated in India by burning coal, these mines allowed the government to rapidly move towards universal electricity access without creating shortages….

In April, the government completed the task of hooking up all the 18,452 un-electrified inhabited villages to the national power. It is now in the process of bringing power to all households without electricity by giving free connections under the Saubhagya scheme. So far, 91.9% of the 2.48 crore households identified without power have been electrified.

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India Just Achieved Universal Household Electrification

India is all set to achieve 100 per cent household electrification by the end of January, with 24.4 million families having received power connections out of the targeted 24.8 million, an official said.

“The 100 per cent household electrification under Saubhagya will be achieved by month end. The government has energised 24.4 million households under the scheme till today,” the official said.

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India Ramps Up Spending On Coal Exploration

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The Indian government will increase spending on exploration of coal and lignite by 20 percent in the coming financial year but will slash funding for coal mine safety and conservation, according to the budget document released on Friday.

India is one of the world’s largest consumers of coal and rising imports of the fuel are adding to a burgeoning trade deficit, prompting the government to invest in developing more domestic resources.

In the 2019/20 financial year that begins in April, the government aims to spend 6 billion rupees ($84 million) on exploration of coal and lignite, the document for the 2019/20 budget showed.

At the same time, it will cut spending on conservation, safety and related infrastructure development by about a third from last year to 1.35 billion rupees, according to the document.

India is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a coal miner, with one miner dying every six days on average in 2017, according to government data, but this will be the second straight year that the government has cut spending on safety.

The coal ministry said that coal companies had their own safety budgets….

The coal ministry said it had increased spending for exploration in 2019/20 to develop more coal blocks to increase domestic coal production and minimize imports.

“This will also enable (the) release of more coal blocks for auction/allocation,” the ministry said.

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