Elevated Jaiswal wants check on coal mafia

"Now the challenge is to have proper check on coal mafia," a jubilant coal minister told PTI. Jaiswal, who was Minister of State with Independent charge, has been promoted as a cabinet minister.

"The Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assessed my work for one and half years and then promoted me. So it means I have lived up to the expectation," Jaiswal said, adding, "This ministry was very infamous for certain things. I will try to wash it out."

He added, "I have tried to increase the coal production and was successful to an extent. A Group of Minister is looking into the matter of go, no-go (areas for mining) and our effort is to find out a solution at the earliest." Jaiswal had said earlier that this year he would intensify his drive to cleanse the coal sector of wrongdoings.

Mafia, pilferage and theft eat into the productivity and profitability of coal companies. It was only in the second term of the UPA regime that concrete steps were taken to eliminate these anti-social elements, Jaiswal had said.

He had also said that 10,000 mafia groups operated in the country and are nestled mostly in Coal India Ltd (CIL) collieries and the annual plunder there was at least 5-6 million tonnes, causing huge loss to the state exchequer. India is home to cumulative coal reserves of 267 billion tonnes, the largest in the world, and the fossil fuel accounts for 55 per cent of the country's energy needs.

Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa are the main coal producing states. State-owned CIL, which accounts for over 80 per cent of the domestic coal production through its seven subsidiaries, produced 431.5 million tonnes of dry fuel in 2009-10.

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