The Centre is aiming at more explorations for underground mineral deposits to augment the non-petroleum and iron ore sectors’ contribution to GDP within a decade, Union Coal and Mines Minister Prahlad Joshi said on Thursday.
Joshi, who was talking to reporters in Kolkata, said a total of 430 blocks at the G2, G3 and G4 levels have been explored across the country and the reports about the exploration have been handed over to states concerned.
“The contribution of the mining sector to GDP is less than 1% and I am talking about minerals other than petroleum products and (iron) ore. As envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi we have to take it (contribution) to at least 2.5% by 2030. I told the GSI to expedite its exploration projects,” he said.
Joshi, who had earlier held a meeting of top Geological Survey of India officers, however, did not specify the blocks.
The minister said in early 2021 the prime minister had directed to bring some major reforms in the mining sector and ensure that every stakeholder was informed about the changes.
“Within 16-17 months (of the PM’s direction), 100 blocks have already been auctioned after being delineated by GSI,” he said adding it was a commendable job.
Asked about the ambitious Deocha Pachami coal block project of the West Bengal government, Joshi said, “If there is any issue, let them (the state) come to us (mining department). We are willing to play our part to settle the issues.”
Told about the protests by a section of the locals and NGOs against the project on the issue of displacement of the tribals, he said basically it is the work of the state government to find a solution.
“Ultimately it is the state that has to coordinate, but the Centre is ready to help,” he added.
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