India has set up a project monitoring unit to speed up the development of coal mines and raise domestic output, as part of its broader aim to cut imports.
The country, which is the world's second-largest coal producer and importer of thermal coal, also has one of the biggest geological reserves. But delays in getting environmental and forest clearances and acquiring land for coal projects has weighed on the growth of Indian domestic coal production, leading to an increase in imports to bridge a demand-supply gap.
The unit will work with new coal block licence holders, as well as federal and state governments and authorities, to ease faster clearances and expedite "operationalisation" of coal blocks, the ministry said.
The move is part of government efforts to reform the coal sector and smooth out the processes before the launch of an auction process for commercial mining, possibly by the end of this month.
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