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State police not doing enough to check coal theft: Minister

Lucknow, June 18 (IANS) Minister of State for Coal Sriprakash Jaiswal Friday accused the police of coal producing states of remaining ‘mute spectators’ and not doing enough to check theft of coal worth millions of rupees.

‘In most of the coal states, the police there just prefer to be a mute spectator to the illegal activities either being carried out by Maoists or other anti-social elements. Several complaints have been registered by Coal India in this regard, but no action has been taken by the state police,’ Jaiswal said at a press conference.

He also said the central government was considering several ‘alternative options’ to mitigate the negative environmental effects of coal production and mining activities.

‘We are in constant touch with the Ministry of Environment and Forests to finalise the policies for addressing the environmental pollution and related issues involved in coal mining activities,’ Jaiswal said.

‘We are getting positive response from the Ministry of Environment and Forests. Among the several proposals being considered for mitigating environmental pollution, one relates to a time-bound agreement with the Ministry of Environment under which we would be expanding the green cover three-four times of the land that would be given to us for coal projects,’ he added.

‘Against all odds, we have managed to raise coal production by 8 percent. It’s a real achievement for us,’ he said.

According to Jaiswal, the money generated by the 10 percent disinvestment of Coal India would be brought in use for carrying out welfare programmes for poor people.

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