Prime Minister likely to review coal supply situation in Nov

Prime Minister likely to review coal supply situation in Nov

"In the first or second week of November, the Prime Minister will review the coal supply situation," Planning Commission Member (Energy) B K Chaturvedi told reporters on the sidelines of the India Energy Forum here.

The meeting assumes significance as the country is facing a severe shortage of coal for power generation activities and the Coal Ministry yesterday made it clear that it cannot supply domestic fuel to new projects, which will have to depend on imported coal.

"We don't have availability of coal for new projects," Jaiswal had said yesterday after a review of power projects by an inter-ministerial panel comprising representatives from the coal, power and finance ministries.

Power projects having a total capacity of 80,000 MW are under construction in the country, but coal linkages for upcoming plants having a combined capacity of 40,000 MW are yet to be obtained.

In the first seven months of the current fiscal, decisions on more than 100 proposals for coal linkages from various sectors, including power, were still pending with the Coal Ministry, according to official data.

Of the 117 applications received in the January-July, 2011, period, the maximum requests were for captive power plants, followed by state electricity boards and independent power producers, sponge iron and cement plants.

Chaturvedi said the Planning Commission had asked the Coal Ministry to augment production about a fortnight back. "We have asked the Coal Ministry to prepare a plan for augmenting coal production," he said.

Earlier, Prime Minister Singh was scheduled to hold a meeting in July with various ministries, including coal and power, to assess their performance and sort out inter-ministerial differences causing delays in the execution of key projects, including expansion programmes to augment coal output.

The Prime Minister's meeting, which has been put off several times, is slated to be attended by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal, Environment Minister Jayanthi Natrajan and Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, among others, sources said.

Coal projects stranded due to delays in the grant of environmental and other clearances, besides power capacity addition targets, are likely to come up at the meeting.
According to an estimate made by the Planning Commission, the demand-supply gap for coal in the ongoing year has been assessed at 142 million tonnes (MT), with domestic availability of only 554 MT against the requirement of 696 MT.

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