West Bengal gets Deocha Pachami coal mine
The Union government has allotted the Deocha Pachami coal mine to the West Bengal Power Development Corporation Ltd (WBPDCL) after keeping it waiting for three years. Extraction from the coal block may, however, be a major challenge for the state-owned power utility. Deocha Pachami is the world’s second-largest coal block, with an estimated reserve of 2.1 billion tonnes. The centre had planned to give it to multiple states for exploitation, but the plan did not take off.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee announced with fanfare that the block had finally been allotted to the state. Deocha Pachami has the potential to become the state’s biggest industrial project, but extraction of coal from the block is years away.
The allotment of the coal block to WBPDCL has paved the way for the power utility to start prospecting. However, this alone could take up to a year, officials of the company said on the condition of anonymity. The prospecting will help determine the technology to be used to mine coal and where the block mining is to be started. It will show how much coal can be extracted and if there are possibilities of recovering gases.