Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray inaugurates coal mine near Nagpur
Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray inaugurates coal mine near Nagpur

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Saturday inaugurated the Western Coalfields' Adasa coal mine near Nagpur via video conferencing and stressed the need for proper utilisation of such mines with the focus on lowering pollution levels.

Speaking after the inauguration, Thackeray said if focus is kept on production of quality coal, then problems of shortage of power in the country will end.

He rued that despite ranking fourth in the world in terms of the number of coal mines, India is still importing coal.

Simultaneously, two mines in Madhya Pradesh were inaugurated by chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

The two undergroundmines in Sharda and Dhankasa in Madhya Pradesh have incurred a total capital expenditure of Rs 849 crore.

Union ministers Nitin Gadkari and Prahlad Joshi also joined online.

"Coal is very important for power generation. If focus is kept on production of quality coal, then problems of shortage ofpower in the country will end. Rural areas especially farmers will get uninterrupted and affordable electricity supply," the CM said.

Thackeray hoped that coal mines would ensure low pollution levels. "They should be environment friendly," he added.

He said starting the mine was a very important step under the 'Mission Begin Again' or the phase-wise reopening of public and economic activities in Maharashtra.

The Adasa coal mine is set up with investment of Rs 334 crore, a Western Coalfields official said, adding that it will produce 1.5 million metric tonnes of coal per year.

"About 550 people will get jobs (at the mine)," he said.

The official further said that 14 coal mines with the investment of Rs 11,500 crore will start operations in Maharashtra in the next four years, and 13,000 people will get employment.

Thackeray also underlined the need that farmers reap benefits of power production through coal mines.

"If electricity is generated for development it is good, but at the same time it would be more beneficial if farmers receive uninterrupted power supply during daytime at lower cost," the chief minister said.

"WCL is doing a good job and if the coal reserves available in Maharashtra and the entire country are properly utilised then the electricity requirement in the country can be used to its capacity.

"Similarly, at the same time while increasing the electricity capacity and moving ahead in development, the side effects like coal dust, coal ash affecting the environment should also be taken care of," Thackeray said.

He said a coal mine should have a specific life span, and it should be closed ensuring that it doesn't harm environment.

Thackeray underlined that even 75 years after Independence, the struggle to double the income of farmers is still on.

"While generating electricity capacity can we try to fulfil the demands of farmers for low cost electricity? Development should also work towards addressing woes of farmers," he said.

While replying to a query of Nagpur MP and Union minister Gadkari on the status of Nagpur-Nagbhid metro broad gauge, Thackeray said all preparations had been done and the line would be inaugurated soon.

As Gadkari was talking about the works done by the BJP-led Central government in the last six years, Thackeray said in a lighter vein that he had done these works in the last six months after coming to power in Maharashtra.

"You are also behind this.. The support given by you is beneficial for the state as well as the country," he added.

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