"There is no low coal supply. The materialisation of coal is as per the plan in the last few years. The fact (is), using the available resources we have increased electricity supply by record 21 percent which is only coal-based," Goyal said at a press conference here on the achievements of his ministries -- which include the new and renewable energy portfolio -- in the first 100 days of the NDA regime.
"I cannot increase coal production in 100 days. Even coal production has increased by nine percent in August as compared to the corresponding period of last year," he added.
The minister said many steps have been taken to evacuate greater quantities of coal such as state-miner Coal India's decision in-principle to spend Rs.5,000 crore to purchase 250 rail rakes for faster evacuation of the fossil fuel from mines.
Further, the ministry is expediting the construction of three critical railway lines in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha for faster evacuation of coal. This measure could potentially yield 60 million tonnes of coal per annum by 2017-18 and up to 200 million tonnes by 2021-22, Goyal said.
On Sep 4, as many as 28 power plants across the country had coal stocks of less than four days, according to the government.
Goyal said the coal shortage at power stations was due to stocks being consumed faster for higher electricity generation without matching supplies.