At a time when country is facing severe coal shortages at its power plants and efforts are on to improve the availability of fuel, India's largest coal producer Coal India (CIL) has suffered a production loss of 50 million tonne (mt) of coal due to delays in environment clearance and land acquisition.
“A total of 20 coal projects (each) costing R20 crore and above could not be started due to constraints of land acquisition and environmental clearance in CIL /its subsidiary companies,” coal and power minister Piyush Goyal informed the Lok Sabha.
These projects, if implemented, could augment CIL's annual output by 52 million tonnes, Goyal said.
The projects pertain to various Coal India arms, including CCL, WCL, SECL and ECL. Eight of these stranded projects are in Chattisgarh while seven are in Maharashtra. Three Coal India projects awaiting regulatory clearances are in Jharkhand while one each are housed in West Bengal and Odisha.
CIL is already under pressure to raise production to meet the growing needs of the power sector. The company has missed its output target of 482 million tonnes for 2013-14, reaching a production of 462 million tonnes during the period.
In 2012-13, the company produced 452.5 million tonnes of coal, short of the 464-million-tonne target. CIL's production target for 2014-15 has been set at 507 million tonnes.