Millennium Post

Centre warns Odisha of moving away coal production

The Centre has warned Odisha that Coal India will have to "move away" its production from the state if the government there does not improve law and order situation and accused it of being "very casual".

Coal Secretary Susheel Kumar told PTI that the production of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL), a Coal India arm, has been hit due to sporadic stoppage of work at some mines due to protests and it may miss the output target by 20 million tonnes this fiscal.

Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) is targeting production of around 167 million tonnes (MT) in this fiscal.

"Odisha government is also very casual.... I conveyed it to Chief Secretary (of Odisha) that if you do not do it (improve the law and order situation) then we will move away from Odisha. We will leave Odisha and do more production from somewhere else in the next year," the Secretary asserted.

Moving away implies that Coal India will reduce the target of MCL and raise the target of some other subsidiary, Kumar said. Coal India targets a production of 598 MT in the current fiscal of which 167 million tonnes will be contributed by MCL.

"And MCL is missing it by more than 20 million tonnes and that is because the production work was stopped (in some of the mines of MCL) in between," he said.

There were serious problems, like relief and rehabilitation (R&R) in MCL, the Secretary said, adding that he had rushed a team of officials, including Additional Secretary, Coal, to Odisha to take stock of the situation.

"In MCL because of R&R issues they (protesters) come and stop production.... you reach a stage when you have to proceed, crack new ground. That can only be possible if the people who are living there are shifted to some other place.

They (the villagers) are not shifting," Kumar said.

Coal India which accounts for over 80 per cent of the domestic coal production is eyeing one billion tonnes output by 2020.
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