|Power minister Piyush Goyal|
AT A time when the government is taking all credit for finding an amicable solution to the coal strike providing relief to state-owned Coal India, coal and power minister Piyush Goyal is doubly confident of the state miner achieving its production target of a million...tonnes of coal by 2019. "What I am most confident about that can actually happen, more so after my night before yesterday's meeting with the union leaders, is that Coal India will reach its target of doubling its production by 2019," Goyal said addressing an Economic Times event on the power sector.
"They (unions) gave me a number of specific and valuable suggestions, for instance, how 11 million tonnes could be produced from a particular mine if environment clearance was taken, or on checking theft of coal," he added.
The power ministry had earlier listed coal workers calling off their nationwide strike late on January 7 as a major achievement of the first 200 days of the NDA government.
"Coal India (CIL) will be protected and there need be no apprehension about its ownership or management going into private hands," Goyal told reporters.
The unionised miners have promised to help make up for the loss, he added.
“CIL will be protected and there need be no apprehension about its ownership or management going into private hands," Goyal told media persons after a marathon six-hour-long meeting here with union leaders.
He said the formation of a committee will help Coal India workers air their views so that they "do not have to go on strike again".
Secretary general of the Indian National Mineworkers Federation S.Q Zama said that though the minister did not agree to consider reversing the decision on commercial mining, workers were relieved that the government will not fully privatise Coal India as many had feared.
A committee comprising government officials and trade union leaders will be set up to review the workers' demands. The committee will submit a report to the government, he said.
Assocham has estimated that the strike caused a loss of production of over one million tones of coal worth about Rs.200 crore a day, affecting over 75 percent of the daily 1.5 million tonnes output.
The government is likely to take a call for selling stake in Coal India.
According the current share prices of the companies, the sale of a 10 percent stake in Coal India will bring in revenues amounting to around Rs 22,000 crore.
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