Coal secretary Sumanta Chaudhuri said that coal supply to power plants would improve after the completion of 14 critical railway projects for evacuating coal.
Railway and coal minister Piyush Goyal said on Friday that the country’s coal imports would have been 1.5 times higher than current volumes if Coal India (CIL) had not increased its production rate. Commercial coal mining, which was approved by the Cabinet in February, 2018 will also reduce import dependency and bring energy security through assured coal supply, the minister added.
Goyal was addressing the media on the five-year achievements of the ministries under his charge.
Power plants across the country had imported 5.5 MT of coal in December 2018, about 15% higher than what was imported in the same month in 2017. State-owned power generator NTPC plans to double its coal import target in FY20 (from 5 MT in FY19) to meet the incremental demand from upcoming power plants of 4 GW capacity.
“As per earlier trend, coal imports would have reached 380 MT in FY18, but it is maintained at about 200 MT per year,” coal ministry officials said.
CIL has supplied 407 MT coal to power sector during current fiscal till February 4, 2019, recording an increase of 7.3%. The average rake-loading of the power sector stands at 252.5 rakes/day, 13% than the same period of last year.
Coal secretary Sumanta Chaudhuri said that coal supply to power plants would improve after the completion of 14 critical railway projects for evacuating coal. Out of these, the 52-kilometre Jharsuguda-Barpali rail line in Odisha was completed in March 2018 and the 44 km Tori-Shivpur line in Jharkhand was completed in September in the same year.
Citing safety as the foremost priority of Indian Railways, Goyal said that railway related deaths has reduced from 152 in 2013-14 to 29 till January 31, 2019. The average pace of commissioning of new lines have increased from 4.1 kms/day during 2009-14 to 6.5 kms/day in 2014-18, he added.
Goyal said that railways and coal together are the ‘engine of new India’, and the government has taken a number of steps in both these sectors to reform and modernise them.