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Coal mines are property of states: Tomar

PTI |

Union minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Sunday dismissed the Congress’ charge that Centre was encroaching upon the rights of state governments on coal block allocations, saying coal mines are property of states.

"Coal mines are the property of states. We have not encroached upon their rights on this issue, rather we have increases their rights in this regard," Union steel and mines minister Narendra Singh Tomar said in response to senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh’s accusation that Centre was deciding on the allocation of coal excavated from coal blocks from states.

Speaking at the same event, Digvijaya made a strong case in the support of state governments over the issue.

Dismissing Digvijaya’s statement, Tomar said, "Centre has already decided that funds raised from auctioning of coal blocks will go to respective states where these coal blocks are located." 

Referring to recent auctioning of coal blocks, the minister said, "It was for the first time in the country that miners acquired coal blocks through auction and not on recommendations made by any important person. A sum of Rs 2 lakh crore has been deposited in government’s coffer through this auction." 

Tomar also said that the Union government has ammended the Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation (MMDR) Act with a view to ensure that allocation of mines will be made through auctioning only so that there is no room left for corruption.

Meanwhile, describing unemployment as the biggest challenge in the current situation, Tomar said it could be overcome with the synergy of skill development and industrialisation.

He said the development of Madhya Pradesh can be boosted by making agriculture profitable. "Madhya Pradesh has to enhance its power generation capacity to 25000 MW by 2025 to meet the growing need for power," he added.