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Naveen Jindal meets Mukherjee; discuss power sector reform issues

New Delhi, Thu, 19 Jan 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Jan 19 (ANI): Lawmaker and industrialist Naveen Jindal has said that Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee has assured to act swiftly on problems faced by industrialists dealing with power sector.


Jindal who along with industry leaders visited Mukherjee here on Wednesday, said that issues relating to power supplies for industries in India were discussed with Mukherjee who assured to work on various suggestions that poured in from industry experts."


"We discussed general issues that industrialists face in their power plants like the scarcity of coal. We also discussed that if industries do not have surplus coal, electricity will not be produced efficiently. Electricity is vital for all and we discussed how to improve various aspects of industries in the country. The finance minister assured us that he would work on various suggestions that poured in from industrialists," he added.


Stagnant domestic output by state-run Coal India the world's largest coal miner and lower-than-expected gas production coupled with the high cost of imports has thrown the business plans of generators into disarray.


But as pressure builds on the government, India has raised its coal import target by over a third to about 114 million tonnes in the fiscal year ending in March, though a lack of rail capacity from key ports to end-users remains a constraint.


Coal accounts for more than half of India's power generation and will be required for about 85 percent of a 75,000 MW target for new capacity by 2017, a government draft report said in late 2011.


The industry leaders are seeking government intervention in areas of fuel, shortage, availability, pricing, delay in environment clearances, and health of distribution companies other than requesting making of their projects economically viable.


Meanwhile, Economic Affairs Secretary R. Gopalan said that all issues related to Indian industries would be discussed in due course.


"These are all issues which are to be discussed and debated, we will look at all of it, there is a structure by which all of this will be taken. I won't comment anything on the deadlines," said Gopalan.


Earlier, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also pledged help on the chronic power shortages strangling economic growth, offering few specifics in a meeting with business leaders in the sector on Wednesday who sought faster coal and gas development and to pass on rising costs.


India has about 10 percent of the world's coal reserves but struggles to provide private players more access to coal blocks and swifter environmental clearances and land acquisition. (ANI)


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