Meeting on underground coal gasification this month-end

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State-owned Coal India (CIL) has convened a meeting later this month to deliberate on the commercial development of underground coal gasification (UCG) in two identified coal blocks.

The development comes at a time when the country is facing acute coal shortage.

"CMPDI, on behalf of Coal India Ltd (CIL), is pursuing commercial development of underground coal gasification (UCG) with CIL command areas," Central Mine Planning & Design Institute (CMPDI) said in a notice.

CMPDI is a Coal India subsidiary.

The identified two UCG blocks are Kaitha Block (Ramgarh Coalfield) of Central Coalfields Ltd and Thesgora "C" Block (Pench Kanhan Coalfield) of Western Coalfields Ltd.

"A Pre NIT (Notice Inviting Tender) meeting...Is scheduled on July 31," the notice added.

Underground coal gasification is a method of converting coal still in the ground to a combustible gas that can be used for various uses, including power generation.

While Kaitha block is in Ramgarh coalfields in the state of Jharkhand, Thesgora "C" block in Pench-Kanhan coalfield is in Madhya Pradesh.

The government had earlier sought cooperation of countries like South Africa for underground coal gasification technologies.

The Coal Ministry had earlier hinted that there was a proposal to bring out appropriate guidelines for implementing underground coal gasification projects in the country.

The demand-supply gap of coal, which was 171 million tonnes last fiscal, is estimated to touch 185 million tonnes in 2016-17.

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