Nitin Gadkari, hon’ble Minister of Road Transport & Highways, MSME while appreciating Western Coalfields Limited (WCL) today for opening 20 coal mines during last 6 years said that upcoming future projects of WCL will further contribute in development of Vidarbha and creation of employment opportunities. He expressed his firm belief that these new mines would increase the availability of coal in power plants. Gadkari emphasised on quality of coal and need of more technological interventions for it. He was addressing the virtual inauguration ceremony of 3 new mines of WCL as a Guest of honour today. While praising WCL for its out of box initiative on segregation of sand from overburden of opencast mines, he stressed on large scale implementation of the idea in future.
Defeating Corona crisis and sticking to its “Mission 100 days” roadmap which prioritise initiatives for achieving beyond 75 MT Coal Production by FY 2023-24, WCL opened 3 Coal Mines in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra along with launch of digital initiatives in a virtual ceremony held today on Saturday, 6th June, 2020. In an online inauguration ceremony chaired by Shivraj Singh Chouhan, hon’ble Chief Minister, Madhya Pradesh & Uddhav Thackeray, hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra and presided by Pralhad Joshi, Hon’ble Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Coal & Mines, Adasa UG to OC Mine in Nagpur Area of Maharashtra and Sharda UG Mine in Kanhan Area & Dhankasa UG Mine in Pench Area of Madhya Pradesh was dedicated to the nation.
Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Coal & Mines, Pralhad Joshi praised the efforts of Team WCL to come up with 3 new coal mines amid Corona pandemic and said that it will not only increase the availability of coal but also strengthen the efforts of hon’ble Prime Minister to restrict the import of coal. He further announced that opening of 20 future coal projects by WCL entailing a total capital expenditure of 13000 crores, will be generating direct employment for 14000 people. While talking about environment conservation, Joshi appreciated the endeavour of WCL for carrying out a 10 crores plantation on 40,000 hectares of land. He also informed about the planned coal gasification project in Chandrapur and said that the work would start after study of the project report.
Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray while appreciating the event said that such a virtual programme is a great example of moving ahead in the present challenging phase of Covid-19. He emphasised on environment conservation and pollution control simultaneously with increase in coal production. Thackeray also stressed on availability of cheaper electricity for farmers and marginalised sections. He expressed his gratitude towards Coal Minister for CIL’s contribution of 20 crores for Maharashtra CM Relief fund.
Speaking on the occasion, hon’ble Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan gave thrust on “Atma Nirbhar Bharat” concept of hon’ble Prime Minister and opening of new coal mines will gradually restrict coal imports. Chouhan further said that sufficient availability of coal to power plants could be maintained with the opening of new mines in Madhya Pradesh.
“Adasa Underground to Opencast Mine” in Nagpur, Maharashtra having the capacity of 1.5 MT will entail the capital expenditure of 334 Crores with direct employment generation for 540 persons, whereas “Sharda and Dhankasa Underground Mines” in Chhindwara, Madhya Pradesh will together infuse the capital of 515 Crores, providing direct employment to 107 persons. Opening of these 3 Mines is a part of the future plan of WCL to start 20 New Projects in next 4 years including 14 in Maharashtra and 6 in Madhya Pradesh for enabling the company to contribute beyond 75 MT by 2023-24 in 1 Billion Tonnes Coal Production plan of Coal India Limited. WCL already opened 20 New as well as Expansion Projects in the last 6 years with over 5300 crores of capital expenditure and 5250 direct employment to land losers, taking its annual coal production in FY 2019-20 to 57.64 MT against the projected decline of production level up to 17 MT in absence of new projects. WCL acquired physical possession of 9500 hectare of land with over 2600 crore land compensation paid to landowners in the last 6 years. Future 20 projects of WCL planned till 2023-24 including these 3 Mines will create direct employment scope for 14010 persons with provision of 12753 crores of capital expenditure benefitting regional economics.
The virtual inauguration ceremony took place in the august presence of Sunil Kedar, hon’ble Minister of Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development, Sports & Youth Welfare; Dr. Vikas Mahatme, Krupal Tumane & Nakul Nath, hon’ble Members of Parliament; Kamal Nath, hon’ble MLA (Chhindwara); Sohanlal Balmiki, hon’ble MLA (Parasia); Sunil Uikey, hon’ble MLA (Junnardeo); Kamlesh Shah, hon’ble MLA (Amarwara); Tekchand Sawarkar, hon’ble MLA (Kamptee); Raju Parwe, hon’ble MLA (Umrer); Ashish Jaiswal, hon’ble MLA (Ramtek); Anil Kumar Jain, Secretary, Ministry of Coal; Pramod Agrawal, Chairman, CIL; officials from the Ministry of Coal, DGMS & Railways; Functional Directors of CIL; CMDs of the subsidiaries of CIL; Board of Directors & Steering Committee members of WCL and other dignitaries from District Administration & CIL companies. The programme was also webcasted through YouTube and WCL website and witnessed by employees, their families and stakeholders in all Areas of WCL as well as across subsidiary companies.
Subsequent to inauguration of Mines, WCL Eye App for real time mines surveillance and e-samvaad App for digital helpdesk to employees & stakeholders as IT initiatives of WCL driven by the Digital India programme also launched by the hands of Pralhad Joshi, Hon’ble Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Coal & Mines.
Coal warriors of Team WCL have been relentlessly working for energy security of the nation even amid corona pandemic and also extending helping hands to the underprivileged section of the society. Moving beyond the shackles of the Corona crisis, opening of 3 New Mines coupled with digital initiatives empowering employees & stakeholders, will not only take WCL on the path of sustainable and inclusive growth but also give a new lease of life to economic activities in the region.