"The coal policy of India is in dire need for revamp. The government should look at a new policy which allows private players to take up coal mining," he said at an event organized by industry body Ficci in Delhi.

"If opening up of the sector to the private players is not feasible, the government should allow some of the major companies to invest and use the best technologies to mine coal in India by substantially incentivizing their initiative," a statement by Ficci quoted him as saying.

The statement said he emphasized that environment and coal mining must work in conjunction and once the coal mines are evacuated completely, full afforestation drive can be taken up on the exhausted mine area.

India must realize that major coal mining is now being carried out in the Eastern part of India and it needs to be transported to the power stations. Hence, there is a need to ensure that adequate transportation facilities are in place to evacuate the mined coal, he said.

"All means of transportation must be utilised for this purpose be it inland waterways, railways or roads. Waterways are the cleanest method and railways is an economical and faster option," he added further.

The time taken for clearances and land acquisition by the state government must be revisited. The state governments can be incentivized for expediting the process and a prescription is needed in the form of a policy clearly defining the process and incentives for addressing the rehabilitation issue as well, he said.

(Agencies)

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