Govt aims to cut coal imports to zero for power PSUs
The Dollar Business Bureau
The Government said on Sunday that it is targeting to bring down the imports of thermal coal to ‘zero’ of power public sector units (PSUs) such as NTPC Ltd in this fiscal, a step that will help in cutting down the import bill of the country by about Rs.17,000 crore.
“This year we want that coal import by these plants (of public sector companies) should be brought down to zero and slowly we would convince the private sector that there is no need for you to import coal,” Susheel Kumar, Secretary - Coal told the PTI.
The government would gradually persuade the private firms to stop the imports of thermal fossil fuel and source their coal requirements through local sources as this is more reliable and subject to less variation in prices, he said. With this India could substantially bring down its import bill by saving around Rs 17,000 crores.
The Secretary further said that the Coal Ministry will ensure that adequate amount of thermal coal is supplied to the power PSUs through local sources prompting these firms to not go in for fossil fuel imports. He was reiterating that thegovernment’s key policy thrust is to ensure that substitution for imports should take place.
In the wake of increased coal production, the imports dropped from 217.78 MT in FY 2014-15 to 199.88 MT in FY 2015-16. The declining trend in coal import has also continued in FY 2016-17.
During the 10-month period (April-January) of the last fiscal, the imports of coal declined by 2.59% as compared to the same period a year-ago. The country imported $3,08813.82 worth of solid fuels from coal in FY 2016-17 a marked decrease from $381006.63 imported in 2015-16.
However, coal imports are not solely dependent on local production. Other factors have also led to import of coal such as the design of power plant based on imported coal and inadequate availability of required grade coking coal, the government had earlier said.