India will initiate talks with the Russian Government for launching coal gasification projects in a big way as Moscow had 30-year experience in executing such projects, Union Minister of State for Coal Sriprakash Jaiswal said here on Tuesday.

Talking to journalists after reviewing the coal sector, Mr. Jaiswal said a dialogue would be initiated with Russia and all necessary steps would be taken to make the coal gasification projects go on stream. Coal gasification was an environment-friendly way of converting coal into hydrogen and other valuable energy, he added.

He said Russia’s expertise would help India increase its resources to generate power and use the gas to bridge the resource shortfall. Majority of the coal reserves were in forest areas and high-end technology was needed to use the natural resources, he added.

“As much as 60 per cent of coal resource available cannot be utilised because it is under forest cover. We have to bring the technology in place soon,” he said. The Coal Ministry had issued guidelines for coal gasification in the first 100-day agenda of the UPA II Government.

Mr. Jaiswal said coal production in the first half of the current fiscal stood at 184.4 million tonnes showing an increase of 16.64 million tonnes over the previous year.The coal off-take during the same period has been 194.3 million tonnes, an increase of 8.10 million tonnes over the same period in the previous year.

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