The government is aiming to save Rs 40,000 crore in foreign exchange on account of lower coal imports this fiscal.
Helped by record coal production by the world’s largest coal miner Coal India, India reduced its import bill of the dry fuel by around Rs 28,000 crore last fiscal.
“Last year (fiscal), we did saving of Rs 28,000 crore in foreign exchange. This year we are targetting Rs 40,000 crore,” Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal said here.
He was addressing the media after the launch of the web portal on ‘Contract Labour Payment Management System’.
“We would endeavour to… reduce the import of thermal coal and increase the production of domestic coal.
“Last year, the reduction in foreign exchange outgo because of import of thermal coal was Rs 28,000 crore and this year we are targetting Rs 40,000 crore,” the minister said.
Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said Coal India’s output for this fiscal is fixed at 598 million tonnes (MT).
Swarup said Coal India had decided to set up 15 washeries, which are expected to be completed by October 1, 2017.
He further said, “Thereafter, ensuring that all coal that has ash content of more that 34 per cent is washed… and we are going well on our target. We are monitoring them very closely.”
There is not a single coal-based power plant in the country which has critical coal stock position, Goyal said.
“The thermal power plants in the country have an average coal stock of 26-27 days. The target before us is that there should be no shortage of coal in any coal-based power plant,” the minister added.
“Record coal production by CIL leads to reduction in import by 34.26 million tonnes (MT). Results in a saving of Rs 28,070 crore in foreign exchange during 2015-16,” Coal Secretary had earlier said in a tweet.
He had further tweeted, imports of the crucial natural resource came down by 27.4 per cent to 15.54 MT in March last fiscal from 21.42 MT during March 2014-15.
In 2015-16, Coal India had achieved a production of 536 MT.
However, CIL — which accounts for over 80 per cent of the domestic coal production — was eyeing 550 MT in 2015-16.