The Indian government has asked state-run generation companies to stop imports of coal and instead buy from state-owned companies such as Coal India Ltd (CIL).
“We have coal but there are not many takers for it. The states which are currently importing coal should immediately stop the imports because Coal India (CIL) will offer coal to them,” Coal Secretary Anil Swarup told an industry meeting last week.
He said all the states, especially the generation companies, could work out a strategy to see how they can totally eliminate imports of coal for power generation.
“We have a very ambitious target of about a billion tonnes of coal production by Coal India by 2020. But the problem is that if we are not going to pick up the coal which we are producing now, then what [will we] do with the one billion tonnes of coal that we are coming up with,” the secretary added.
CIL, which accounts for over 80% of domestic coal production, produced 550 million tonnes in the year to March 2016.
This statement comes after CIL’s coal sales fell in the first two months of current fiscal year, from April to May. Coal sales in that period increased by 1% to 88.23 million tonnes, compared with a 7.4% rise achieved during the corresponding period in 2015.
Similarly, coal production for the period grew by 0.5% to 82.93 million tonnes, compared with 11.8% growth in the previous period.
CIL has eight subsidiaries. Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL) posted a 5.2% fall in sales, while Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL) saw 5.6%, Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL) 13.8%, Western Coalfields Ltd (WCL) 8.8% and Northeastern Coalfields Ltd (NECL) 54.4%.
The company’s coal sales fell because of higher coal stocks at power plants and the suspension of operations by some power generating facilities.
At the end of May, stocks at power utilities stood at 32.65 million tonnes, enough for 22 days of supply.