India to import coal to meet increasing domestic demands

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Kolkata, Apr 6 (UNI) Coal India Limited (CIL) has decided to import coal to meet the gap between the demand and supply in domestic markets in the current 11th Five Year Plan period, CIL Chairman Partha Bhattacharya said.

''CIL's projected target of mining coal from all its eight subsidiaries has been 520.5 million tonnes by end of 2011-12, a shortfall of about 215 million tonnes, as demands have been spiralling from the steel industries and energy sectors,'' Mr Bhattacharya told a press conference here last night.

The CIL was expecting the demand would rise upto 735 million tonnes by end of 2011-12.

Since the CIL cannot refuse the demands of coal from public sector units and private sector industries as per the law of the land, the CIL's target production of 520.5 million tonnes would be unable to meet the demand.

Therefore, the CIL would have to import and generate coal indigenously to meet the shortfall of 215 million tonnes, the chairman added.

He said the CIL will spend about Rs 17,000 crore in the 11th plan period to mine the targetted 520.5 million tonnes of coal.

However, he refused to elaborate on how the CIL would meet the excess cost of the imported coal which would automatically be higher in the domestic markets owing to logistic reasons of transportation and shipment.

Announcing a record profit of Rs 9,576.22 crore and unprecetended 379.49 million tonnes coal production in the last fiscal (2007-08), compared to Rs 8,522.22 crore and 360.9 million tonnes in 2006-07, barring ECL (Eastern Coaldfields Ltd) and BCCL (Bharat Coal Company Ltd), all other six subsciadiaries - CCL, NCL, WCL, SECL, MCL and NEC earned profit, the CIL chairman said.

Although the BCCL failed to earn any profit, it produced one million tonnes every year for the past three years and the CIL incurred a loss of about Rs 647 crore in the last fiscal.

The CCL and MCL witnessed major constraints in the first half of the last fiscal, including unprecedented rainfall, land disputes, particularly in Jharkhand, resulting in only 0.82 million tonnes (0.7 per cent) production.

However, the coal companies recoverd the losses in the second half of the last fiscal and achieved a growth of 17.76 million tonnes (8.7 per cent) which was better than the asking growth rate for the 11th plan period, Mr Bhattacharya added.

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