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Power utilities to import coal

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By SUTANUKA GHOSAL in Calcutta
  • Published 24.04.05
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Calcutta, April 24: The power and cement sectors, including captive power plants, have been allocated 87 million tonnes of coal for the first quarter of 2005-06.

The minister of state for coal and mines, Dasari Narayana Rao, has recently approved the recommendations of the Standing Linkage Committee, an inter-ministerial body in the department of coal, which considers demand for the mineral from various sectors.

The ministry of coal has also asked the power sector to import 10 million tonnes of coal in the current year to meet its increasing demand in view of increased generation.

Coal India Limited by and large met the requirements of coal of the thermal power plants according to the annual action plan target. This fiscal, Coal India has proposed to supply 257 million tonnes. It supplies 78 per cent of coal required for the power sector.

Coal India supplied about 234 million tonnes of coal to power utilities in 2003-04, while it increased to 249 million tonnes in 2004-05.

The coal ministry has given a linkage of 75.15 million tonnes, while the cement sector 4 million tonnes in the first quarter of this fiscal.

The Standing Linkage Committee reviewed coal supply to both the sectors in 2004-05.

Despatch of coal to the power sector during 2004-05 is estimated at 274 million tonnes, exceeding the annual action plan target by 8 million tonnes. This is an increase of 14 million tonnes over last year.

For 2003-04 and 2004-05, coal despatches to the power sector marked an increase of 27 million tonnes over the target.

In view of the prevailing coal shortage, the committee has recommended that power houses should import 10-12 million tonnes coal in 2005-06.

The committee has applied new coal usage norms to 88 captive power plants (CPPs), resulting in saving of about 8 lakh tonnes for the quarter. The norms are applied to ensure equitable allocation of coal to CPPs and a correction had become necessary in the prevailing scenario of shortage.

Thirty five thermal power stations, falling under the purview of environmental stipulation requiring to use coal with less than 34 per cent of ash, have been allocated 29 million tonnes coal for the first quarter.

The committee has also identified certain bottlenecks like inadequate availability of railway wagons, delay in loading of wagons, inadequate infrastructure at the loading points for taking necessary corrective measures by the Railways and thermal power stations.

NTPC said it would import 2.10 million tonnes of coal. The Maharashtra State Electricity Board has already floated a tender for import of 1 million tonnes.