The Centre will pay Rs 1,240 crore to Coal India’s exploration arm for two years up to 2021 to explore blocks that would be auctioned to commercial coal miners, company executives said.
“In an effort to offer fully explored blocks on auctions to commercial miners, the centre has decided to nearly treble monetary allocation to the Coal India arm, Central Mine Planning & Design Institute Ltd (CMPDIL), so that it can increase its exploration acreages multiples times,” a senior Coal India executive said.
The Centre used to provide up to Rs 250 crore for exploration of non-Coal India blocks. Following opening up commercial coal mining, the amount jumped to Rs 540 crore in 2019-20 and Rs 700 crore for 2020-21.
“The coal ministry will provide the fund under a Central sector scheme to expedite exploration and make available blocks with necessary exploration data to the coal ministry for its development through allotment,” said CMPDIL’s chairman and managing director, Shekhar Saran. “This will help the country meet its energy requirement and minimise coal imports.”
The ministry is also supporting other CMPDIL activities like application of drones and methane drainage from coal bed methane projects. Saran said the company drilled 8.91 lakh meter up to December 2019 against this fiscal’s target of 14 lakh meter, which it hopes to achieve.
He said CMPDI’s efforts helped increase India’s proven resources from 21 billion tonne in 1976 to 156 billion tonnes in 2019.