New Delhi, Aug 25 The Steel Ministry has approached the Coal Ministry asking for increased availability of indigenous coking coal in order to reduce dependence on import of the fossil fuel.
"The Steel Ministry wants more availability of coking coal for steel plants of SAIL and RINL. As a result, Steel Secretary Aruna yesterday met Coal Secretary Anil Swarup," an official said.
The Steel Ministry wants to reduce dependence on imports, the official said, adding that it also asked the Coal Ministry to allocate coking coal blocks.
Earlier this year, the government had said that efforts were being made to increase the availability of indigenous coking coal in the country in order to reduce the import of the fossil fuel which is mainly used in production of steel.
Import of coking coal by domestic steel industry crossed 45 million tonnes (MT) in 2014-15 as against about 39 MT in 2013-14, according to Assocham.
It is likely to touch 180 MT in the wake of the country's ambitious target of producing 300 MT of crude steel per annum by 2025, the industry body has estimated.
Besides, the coking coal import has increased from 13 MT in 2003-04 to over 39 MT in 2013-14 and during the same period the dry fuel production dropped from about 18 MT to 14 MT and supply of washed coking coal to steel plants was only 6.6 MT in 2013-14, Assocham had said.
"This is resulting in a loss of forex reserves, stress in inland transportation and logistics and congestion at ports, as such it is imperative that indigenous production of coking coal is given a big thrust," it said.