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Cabinet Approves Rs 2,980 Crore for Exploration of Coal and Lignite Scheme

Unleashing India's Energy Potential

The Indian government has recently given its approval for the continuation of the central sector plan known as the “Exploration of Coal and Lignite Scheme.” With an estimated expenditure of Rs 2,980 crore, this scheme aims to explore and assess the country’s coal and lignite resources. The approval extends the scheme from 2021-22 to 2025-26, aligning it with the 15th Finance Commission cycle.

As one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, India heavily relies on coal and lignite as primary sources of energy. To ensure a sustainable and uninterrupted supply, the government is committed to harnessing the nation’s vast coal and lignite resources efficiently. The extension of the “Exploration of Coal and Lignite Scheme” signifies this commitment.

The primary objective of this scheme is to assess the presence, quantity, and quality of coal and lignite resources within the country. Through systematic exploration efforts, geological surveys are conducted to identify potential areas for coal mining. By understanding the geology and characteristics of these resources, the government can effectively plan for their extraction, ensuring long-term energy security.

A significant portion of the allocated funds, Rs 1,650 crore, will be dedicated to promotional (regional) exploration. This stage involves surveying approximately 1,300 square kilometers to identify potential coal and lignite deposits. By conducting comprehensive studies, the scheme aims to encourage investment and generate interest in the development of these resources. Such exploration plays a pivotal role in attracting both domestic and international stakeholders, contributing to economic growth and job creation in the coal mining sector.

The scheme also allocates Rs 1,330 crore for detailed drilling in non-Coal India Limited (CIL) areas, covering about 650 square kilometers. This stage involves extensive field investigations, including drilling boreholes and conducting geological surveys, to assess the quality and quantity of coal and lignite reserves. Detailed exploration provides vital data that supports the preparation of comprehensive project reports necessary for initiating coal mining operations.

The geological reports generated through these explorations serve as a crucial resource for various purposes. Firstly, they aid in the auctioning of new coal blocks, ensuring a transparent and competitive bidding process. Potential allocatees can make informed decisions based on the comprehensive geological information provided, enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of resource allocation. Additionally, the cost incurred during exploration is subsequently recovered from successful allocatees, ensuring a self-sustaining financial model for the scheme.

The “Exploration of Coal and Lignite Scheme” holds immense significance for India’s energy sector and the nation as a whole. By accurately estimating the available coal and lignite resources, the scheme contributes to the preparation of detailed project reports, which facilitate the start of coal mining operations. This, in turn, helps meet the rising energy demands of various sectors, including power generation, industries, and domestic consumption. Furthermore, the scheme supports job creation, economic growth, and ensures long-term energy security for the nation.

Looking ahead, as India seeks to diversify its energy mix and reduce its dependence on coal, the “Exploration of Coal and Lignite Scheme” lays the foundation for a sustainable transition. The data and knowledge gained through this exploration will enable informed decision-making regarding the utilization of coal resources, including adopting cleaner technologies, enhancing environmental sustainability, and promoting renewable energy sources. The scheme also encourages innovation in the coal mining sector, fostering research and development to maximize efficiency and minimize environmental impact. With this continued focus on exploration and assessment, India is poised to unlock its energy potential and shape a more sustainable future.

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