ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Myopia on Coal

The brouhaha over Coalgate has pushed the genuine long-term issues in coal to the background. India's coal reserves are smaller than estimated and the flurry of coal-based power plants that have been approved in recent years has seen a frenetic rush to tie up coal resources, which at this rate would last no more than 20 years. Auction of mines is by itself no solution to the problems created by private allotment; auctions need to be carefully crafted and there should be production-sharing contracts monitored by a statutory regulator. Last but not the least, there is the issue of pollution and environment degradation caused by the mining and burning of coal. India needs a strategy based on demand management of energy, including introducing efficiency improvements in both the coal and the electricity sectors. It also needs to make a decisive shift in favour of renewable sources of energy. The country needs to move away from coal as quickly as possible.

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