A detailed coal import substitution strategy is underway by the Ministry of Coal.
According to union coal secretary, Anil Swarup, the ministry of coal has initiated a detailed exercise where it is working closely with the public and private industry and studying every single coal based plant in the country that is using imported coal.
Swarup said the strategy for public sector undertakings have already been worked out. “The strategy is in operation….and henceforth no state or central PSU will import coal and all their requirements of coal will be met by state-owned coal producer, Coal India Ltd (CIL),” he said.
Union Minister for Power and Coal Piyush Goyal has already said that the government has drawn up an entire programme to completely eliminate import of coal by any state government or state discom in the next few months.
As a central PSU, NTPC Ltd has decided not to import any coal and their demand will be met by Coal India.
A similar detailed exercise, he added is also underway for the private sector where the cola ministry is trying to figure out and understand why the private sector is importing coal for running their plants when sufficient domestic coal is available in the country at affordable price.
“We know some reasons such as the fact that the boilers at their plants cannot accommodate the quality of coal that is available domestically,” Swarup said, adding that the coal ministry was doing a much detailed exercise and are going into the details of each plant that is importing coal. As a strategy we want to see how this space can be occupied by CIL that has sufficient availability of coal to service the requirements of public and private sector.
“One solution to increase usage of domestic coal in the private sector could be if the best of mines with high quality coal and lower ash content is further washed and offered….it can be brought to quality levels that can be burnt in existing boilers designed for clean and imported coal,” said Anil Sardana, CEO and MD of Tata Power.
Meanwhile the coal ministry is already conducting third party coal quality checks and ensuring quality supply of coal.
Following increased production by CIL, present coal inventory in the country is close to 56 million tonnes at the pitheads. For the current year, Coal India has a target of producing 598 million tonnes of coal.