The Coal India Limited (CIL) is augmenting its supply of coal to thermal power plants in order to improve power situation in the country.
According to the latest figures, the growth in coal supply to power plants in September was an impressive 21%, one of the highest in the history of CIL. The public sector undertaking (PSU) supplied 35.1 million tonne (MT) in September this year, compared to 29.1 MT in the same month last year.
The Coal Ministry, headed by Piyush Goyal, is pushing hard to improve the supply of coal to power plants. A joint meeting of coal and power secretaries was held last week in which it was decided that the CIL would dispatch 215 rakes every day to the power plants of the country. Subsequently, the company has been consistently supplying more than 215 rakes every day to the power sector since 5 October. In September, the CIL posted robust growth in coal production (10.1%), and off take to power sector (21%), said the official, despite the fact that the production and dispatch was adversely affected in the last week of September due to festival holidays. As a result, cumulative growth of production till September 2017 became positive which was negative till August. Despite first two days of October being holidays, there has been a growth of 8.9 % in coal production, so far, which is likely to go up further during the month.
The official said rake loading per day during September for the power utilities of the country grew by 19% as CIL loaded 192 rakes per day, adding that the synergy between CIL and Railways has resulted in substantial increase in rake loading per day.
Several initiatives are being taken by the CIL to ensure increased supply to the power sector. The coal stock at mines of CIL has been offered to the power plants situated within a radius of 50-60 km, with the freedom to lift as much coal as they can by their own arrangement. Many of the power plants have started taking coal from such stocks. The CIL has also set up a round-the-clock monitoring and control cell to monitor coal supply 24 x 7 to the power sector.
Though there was a growth of about 21% in the supply of coal to power plants, the growth in coal based power generation was 6.6%. Sources said it could be due to decline in coal imports. There is a continuous decline in the import of coal in recent years. During August, there was a decline of 24% in imports resulting in huge savings of foreign exchange. The import of coal fell by 6.4% to191.95 MTs in 2016-17 after higher production by Coal India.