KOLKATA: The Bengal government has a plan to introduce merchant mining in the state for which it may seek the Centre’s approval, State Industry, Commerce and Enterprises Minister Amit Mitra said on Wednesday.He was speaking at the ‘Global Mining Summit 2018’ organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) at Eco Park. Mitra said the state government will consider if merchant mining could be done at Deocha Pachami — the largest coal block in Asia and the world’s second largest reserve with 2,102 MT. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal life”We think the amount of coal reserve Deocha Pachami has is not meant only for capital plants to generate power. A small proportion of the reserve will be used for power generation while the rest will be available for non-captive use. We have to consider merchant mining for future and see if the quantum of coal raised from this mine is greater than what the power companies will require,” Mitra said. He further said the state government will talk to the Centre in this regard for its approval. Once the government starts using Deocha Pachami for merchant mining, the private sectors will be roped in. Deocha Pachami has been allocated to the state government by the Centre and it is fully-owned by West Bengal Power Development Corporation Limited (WBPDCL). Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThere will be a direct investment of Rs 12,000 crore at Deocha Pachami, while the indirect investments would be five times higher. There will be an employment of 1,10,000 people (more than 1 lakh people). Currently, the state government has 228 mines in Ranigunj and Asansol region. Deocha Pachami will be used for Sagardighi phase II and phase III and Santaldih as captive mines, Mitra maintained. The minister added that Bengal has 35 billion tonne of coal reserve, consisting of high value coal with low sulphur and low ash content. Bengal is among the few states to have Coal Bed Methane (CBM). Various international collaborations are taking place in the state, he said. Bengal also has plans to set up a logistic hub in the state as it has an access to countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and ASEAN. “The amount of revenue collected from minor and major minerals in the state stands at Rs 2,264 crore – Rs 574 crore from minor minerals and Rs 1,690 crore from major minerals. When we came to office, the revenue from minor mineral was only Rs 88.6 crore. The amount has increased because of the transparency and the integrity that have been incorporated into the system. The revenues have been lent to social and physical infrastructure. We have been given 5 exploration proposals through mineral exploration coverage. We are working on it,” Mitra said. Bengal government is keen on setting up an equipment manufacturing hub. It’s one of the visions of this government. The matter has already been discussed with the state government, Mitra further maintained.