Coal Mining Operations in Assam Restarted after 2 Years

The coal mining operations in Assam's Tikak Coalfield, one of the oldest coal mines in India, under the North Eastern Coalfields (NEC), resumed after two years on Saturday by Union Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi.

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Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was also present on the occasion. Mining operations at Tikak Coalfield in Tinsukia district were halted in 2020 due to to non-availability of land for the overburden dump, and certain environmental issues and clearances.

The NEC, a unit of Coal India Limited (CIL), currently operates in Tikak colliery in Margherita with two opencast projects -- Tikak OCP and Tikak Extension OCP with a combined coal production capacity of four lakh tonne per annum.

The NEC will also start producing coal from its Tirap OCP from upcoming fiscal 2022-23 aiming to produce 10 lakh tonnes of coal from the 2023-24 fiscal.

Resuming the coal mining operations, Joshi said that it is a very important step towards development of the northeastern region.

"The coal quality of NEC is superior and it is in high demand by several of India's domestic industries," he said.

The Union Minister said that increased production in the mines would generate more revenues for the Assam government, more employment for the people and also support small business activities, while catering to the energy demand.

Speaking on the occasion, Assam CM Sarma said with the resumption of mining operations at the Tikak Colliery, the state government has fulfilled yet another promise made to the people in the state assembly elections last year.

Sarma said the Assam government is committed to maintain a balance between the development and the environment.

"While operationalising Tikak Colliery, we have ensured that mining activities continue in sync with nature. Our government has extended all co-operation to Coal India Ltd in resolving environmental and all other issues that stalled the functioning of the North Eastern Coalfields," the Chief Minister said.

CIL Chairman Pramod Agrawal, Assam's Minister of Mines and Minerals Jogen Mohan and Margherita MLA Bhaskar Sarma among others were present on the occasion.

An official statement said that Coal India accounts for over 80 per cent of India's coal production.

The company has produced 606.06 million tonnes of coal in the current fiscal till March 25, with the company's coal production up by 5 per cent, relative to the same period of the last fiscal.

The company's coal off-take till date is 649.65 million tonnes, up by 15 per cent in comparison to the same period of the last fiscal.

This is also the record coal off take by the company in any financial year, the statement said.

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