Rajasthan to auction 10 lignite blocks in FY16 for power
Rajasthan is likely to auction 10 lignite blocks this fiscal as it plans to enhance power generation capacity in the state as well as utilise its rich mineral resources to increase revenue.
Besides, the state -- considered a major player in mineral production -- will also auction seven limestone blocks, most likely by September, for setting up of cement plants.
"In the current year, 10 blocks of lignite have been identified by NLC (Neyveli Lignite Corporation) and has been sent to Ministry of Coal (MoC) for further action regarding allocation. These blocks are likely to be allocated in the current financial year by MoC," Rajasthan Principal Secretary Mines Ashok Singhvi told PTI.
At present, nine lignite blocks are under mining lease in the state, out of which eight are being used for power generation and one for mercantile use, he added.
Under a policy released last week, the state aims to increase land under mining from 0.54 per cent to 1.5 per cent, increase revenue from such activities as well as raise the number of minerals to be mined from 57 to 79.
The state accounts for 9 per cent of the country's total mineral production and has 79 varieties of minerals of which 57 are being commercially exploited.
Lignite, often called brown coal, is utilised in steam electric power generation and is used in cement, brick kilns, chemical and textile processing sectors.
According to Rajasthan Mineral policy 2015, the state has over 5,720 million tonnes of lignite reserves and holds 13 per cent of India's resources and stands second after Tamil Nadu.
At present, 13 units of lignite based power plants are under operation (1,715 MW) and new units are expected to be established. Efforts will be made for setting up more lignite based thermal power plants in the state, it added.
Besides, Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) in identified Lignite blocks will be set up. CNG stations along national highways Ahmedabad-Udaipur and Palanpur-Sirohi route will be set up, the policy said.
Singhvi said Rajasthan has tremendous potential for setting up cement plants, lignite based thermal power units, glass-ceramic industries and fertiliser units.
On limestone auction, he said: "State government is in process of finalising contract with MSTC for online auction of mining blocks. There are 7 limestone blocks for setting up of cement plants, which have been prospected to the required level and are likely to be put for e-auction by the end of September." .
Mines Department has notified number of cement grade limestone blocks for setting up new major cement plants, yet 42 explored blocks are available for notification, the mineral policy says.
Besides, the government plans to reduce the wastage from mining of limestone also called kota stone -- used extensively in interior decoration as tiles.
"Although mining of Kota Stone has been going on for a long time, there has been a considerable wastage of this mineral due to indiscriminate blasting of unsplittable layers during extraction of splittable limestone," the policy said.