Opening up of coal sector necessary to increase production, says advisory group

The advisory group to Piyush Goyal, minister of state for power, coal & new and renewable energy, has said that opening up of the coal sector and upgrade of Coal India (CIL) and its subsidiaries are necessary for higher domestic production. The group presented its report on integrated development of power, coal and renewable energy to the government on Thursday. The group, chaired by Suresh Prabhu, was set up on June 25, 2014.

The group has also given its suggestions on the issues of coal block auction process, coal linkage rationalisation, swapping of coal linkages, the need for urgent action on coal linkages to power plants already commissioned, and the plants which are expected to be started March, 2015.

Various options should be explored to develop railway infrastructure including through a JV by Coal India (CIL), it said. 

The group is chaired by Suresh Prabhu, former minister of power, who is now the railway minister, and consists of RV Shahi (former power secretary), Pratyush Sinha (former chief vigilance commissioner), Anil Baijal (former home secretary), Anil Khandelwal (former chairman, Bank of Baroda), KK Nohria (former CEO, Crompton Greaves), Partho Bhattacharya (former CMD, Coal India), and Vallabh Bhansali (former CEO, ENAM). 

Talking about the power sector, the Advisory group recommended amendments to Electricity Act to ensure continuous power supply and reforms in distribution.

The group said there is requirement for large scale capacity in solar and wind sector. It also emphasised on the need of grid discipline, establishment of regional regulators in consultation with states and review of performance of regulatory commissions. 

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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