I look forward to three challenges in 2016: reducing the import of coal, improving the quality of coal produced by Coal India Limited, and setting up more washeries which will provide coal that is better for the environment by reducing fly ash from coal-fired plants.
In 2015, we faced a number of legal challenges with the allocations [of coal blocks] being cancelled, and over amendments to the Coal Mines Act. But now, that is all done.
Coal production is currently increasing at 9.1% over the previous year’s production. Higher production helped us bring down imports dramatically. Between April and November last year, coal imports reduced by 12%. It was the first time in many years that India’s coal imports came down. I hope this volume of production and reduction in imports will continue in 2016.
To help improve evacuation of coal, I am hopeful that the work on three crucial railway links will progress well in 2016. In Odisha, work on the Jharsguda-Barpalli railway line is well on its way to being completed by July 2016. Another crucial railway link in coal-bearing areas in Jharkhand, the Tori-Shivpur line, is likely to be completed in December 2017.
On the personal front, I hope to be as happy as I was the previous year. My son got married a few days back and I am content that now my both my children are married and happily settled.