Coal Secretary Anil Swarup on Thursday said that state-owned electricity generating companies will stop importing coal from the next financial year, The Hindu Business Line reported. Swarup said power generation companies owned by the Centre and states imported between 35-40 million tonnes of coal in 2015-’16. “After March 31, 2017, there will be zero imports,” he said.
Swarup said that while the government was keen on allowing the entry of the private sector into the commercial coal mining industry, the move was being delayed by low demand as well as capacity maximisation by state-owned Coal India. The secretary added that the government could not allow the entry of private companies unless “everyone is getting coal”, The Financial Express reported.
He added that Coal India would keep making efforts to meet its production target of 1 billion tonnes of coal by 2020. “We should get prepared to produce as much as our target and lift [it] when required,” he said while speaking at a conference on India’s coal sector.
A report by BMI research, a subsidiary of global ratings agency Fitch, has said that India may continue to face deficits in its coal requirement because of delays in opening up the sector to commercial mining as well as delays in granting approvals to new state-owned miners, according to dna. “We are assuring the supply of coal for [the] private sector,” Swarup said. However, reports have suggested that the Indian government will have to spend four times its defence budget to meet its 2020 target.