Jul 16, 2012, 10.55 PM IST
India's coal imports are likely to touch a whopping 185 million tonnes (MT) by 2017, almost 20% of the international dry-fuel trade amid widening demand-supply deficit, according to Planning Commission.
Projecting the imports to increase to 185 million tonnes by 2017 against 137 MT by the end of the 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12), a draft paper by the Plan Panel on Energy for the 12th Plan (2012-17) has cautioned that "there is an urgent need to take effective measures to step up coal production."
The issues are likely to come up for discussion during States' Energy Ministers meeting here tomorrow as amid the widening demand-supply deficit, the total demand by the power sector, including that from captive power plants, is expected to be 75% of the total coal demand by 2017.
"If domestic supply does not match the target growth rate of 7.5% per year, the import demand will be higher.
The projected level of imports of around 185 MT is large keeping in mind that international trading in coal is only around 900-1,000 MT of the total consumption of over 6,000 MT world over," the draft document said.
It has also pointed out that the international availability of coal is going to be restricted due to concerns on climate change.
"International prices of coal are also likely to remain high because of taxes which are being imposed by several coal producing countries, including Australia and Indonesia," it added.
The total demand of coal grew by about 8% during the Eleventh Plan against the domestic production growth of only 4.61%.
The gap was filled by higher imports. State-run Coal India , which meets over 80% of the domestic requirement, is battling with problems including delays in regulatory clearances, law and order etc. to augment the production.
State-owned Coal India (CIL) today said it has fixed a production target of 464 MT for 2012-13. The company had achieved 435.84 MT output in 2011-12 against a scaled-down target of 447 MT.
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