The country’s thermal power producers and steel manufacturers had to shell out over Rs 1 lakh crore in 2014-15 to cope with the shortage of coal to run their operations.
According to provisional statistics released by the coal ministry on Friday, raw coal imports during the last fiscal touched 212.1 million tonne (MT) from various nations for which the fuel’s users in India had to spend Rs 1,04,524.1 crore. This includes 43.71 MT of coking coal and 168.29 MT of non-coking coal. In 2013-14 the country imported 166.86 MT coal worth Rs 92,329.2 crore. On a fiscal-on-fiscal basis, imports have risen by 27.12 per cent in 2014-15. As per the country’s import policy 1993-94, coal has been put under open general licence and consumers are free to import the fossil fuel based on their need.
In 2005-06, 38.58 MT of coal was imported into the country which was valued at Rs 14,909.5 crore, which jumped to 73.25 MT coal in 2009-10 at Rs 39,180 crore and to 145.78 MT in 2012-13 at an expenditure of Rs 86,845.5 crore, according to the statistics compiled by the directorate general of commercial intelligence and statistics (DGCI&S).
The Indian utilities have also been importing the fuel from nations like South Africa (30.57 MT), Indonesia (118.2 MT) and in lesser quantities from Russia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Colombia.
According to figures available with the Central Electricity Authority, 454.6 MT, 489.4 MT and 531.5 MT of fuel has been consumed by the coal-fired power plants during the past three fiscals respectively. In the year 2014-15, coal production in India reached 612.43 MT registering a growth of 8.25 per cent over the last year. During this period production of lignite reached 48.25 MT marking a growth of 9 per cent over 2013-14.
Coal was mainly imported through Mundra (24.22 MT), Paradip (16.22 MT), Dahej (14.24 MT), Dhamra (13.64 MT), Gangavaram (13.90 MT) and Krishnapatnam (13.36 MT). But evacuation in the coalfields continue to pose anxiety to the government. Unless the three railway lines
The increasing imports has made the government set an output target of 1 billion tonne for state-run Coal India, but the PSU says it may have to revise its capital expenditure plans of investing Rs 60,000 crore within the next five years if land acquisition hurdles are not sorted out.