Poland has shown immense interest to provide technical knowhow to the Bengal government in the extraction of clean coal. State Power minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay along with Additional Chief Secretary Sunil Gupta visited Poland recently to explore the possibilities of cooperation in the power sector and held a meeting with Krzysztof Tchórzewski who is the Minister of Energy in Poland.
A senior official in the state Power department on conditions of anonymity said the meeting was fruitful with exchange of opinion regarding the functioning of the power sector in both the countries. “They are known for their technological expertise in the mining and power sectors. We are planning to use this technology to extract clean coal which may eventually be used for generating power. If we find that their technology is cost-effective, we are ready to embrace the same,” the official said adding that the developments of the meeting will be shared with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee next week. According to the official, the minister had urged his Polish counterpart for cooperation in the solar sector in which the Bengal government is progressing by leaps and bounds. “Apart from talking elaborately on the functioning of the power sector, the minister also exhibited various projects initiated by the power department,” the official added.
However, it is learnt that Poland is keen to invest in the coal segment to begin with. Bengal is rich in coal reserves and is developing the country’s largest coal mine in Birbhum district with the Centre already allotting the development rights for the Deocha-Pachami coal block to the state under the government route. The state has plans to invest Rs 12,000 crore to develop the block, which would create one lakh jobs and usher in rapid economic development in the area. The block is expected to produce coal worth Rs 2.10 lakh crore and attract total investments worth Rs 22,000 crore.
Both the governments’ power sector have formed committees to examine the possibilities of cooperation. The state Power department had signed a Memorandum-of-Understanding (MoU) with the Poland government at the Bengal Global Business Summit held in January this year to build cooperation on issues like clean coal technology, coal mining, technology transfer etc. Adam Burakowski, Ambassador of Poland in India, had held a meeting with Chattopadhyay and state Finance and Industry minister Amit Mitra in this subject in April. Poland has also proposed to offer scholarships to the youth from Bengal who want to gain knowledge of mining engineering in their country.