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India tries to douse century-old coal fires as it seeks output boost

Reviving output from coal sector is one of PM Modi's most tangible achievements so far

Jharia, India

PRIME MINISTER Narendra Modi is determined to move more than 100,000 people living near coalfields in eastern India to new homes, making it easier to douse underground fires that have burned for a century and mine huge reserves of premium coal.

Reviving output from India's nationalised coal sector has been one of Modi's most tangible achievements during his first year in office, one that he hopes will secure continuous power to all and eat into an annual coal import bill of US$15 billion.

The burning deposits of Jharia, in Jharkhand state, are particularly prized because they are the only source of top quality steelmaking coal in the country. India spends US$4 billion a year on importing...

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