Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi on Thursday said state-owned CIL has stepped up fuel supply to meet the increased demand of the power sector and arrest shortages at thermal power plants caused due to rising cost of imported coal.
The remarks by Joshi, who is on a three-day visit to Odisha, come at a time when the country's power plants are grappling with coal shortages.
"Coal production and despatch have now increased and we are supplying about 2.2 million tonnes coal in a day to the power plants, which is itself a record," Joshi was quoted as saying in a statement by Coal India arm Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL).
The minister reviewed the mining and despatch operations at MCL, with an aim to further enhance fuel supplies to thermal power plants.
He was accompanied by Minister of State for Rail, Coal and Mines Raosaheb Patil Dhanve.
Joshi, while appreciating MCL's performance, said, "We are trying to further improve coal production and despatch from the company."
During his visit to Talcher coalfields, Joshi inspected mining operations at Balram open cast project in Hingula area and coal dispatch operations through railway sidings.
He held discussions with MCL and railway officials at the railway sidings.
Both the ministers stressed on further reducing turn-around time of railway wagons.
The ministers also interacted with the coal miners and motivated them for increasing coal production and despatch. Best performing workers were also felicitated.
Coal India Ltd (CIL) Chairman Pramod Agrawal, MCL's Chairman-cum-Managing Director P K Sinha and other officials accompanied the minister, who also visited the Paradip Port Trust (PPT).On Tuesday, Joshi reviewed the coal production and stressed on continuing the momentum to dispatch maximum dry fuel to thermal power plants.
Power Minister R K Singh had on Monday exuded confidence that there will be no power shortage in the country amid the ongoing low coal stocks at power plants.
He stressed on timely payments by distribution companies to the plants for electricity supplied to them.
"There won't be any back down...There was no (power) outage yesterday... and it did not happen even before. If there is some outage, then that is because of our own (states') constraints," he had said.
The minister had informed that power plants in the country have more than 8 million tonnes of coal at present.
MCL accounts for about 25 per cent of the total coal production of Coal India.
To further enhance coal dispatch capacity and rapid movement of the dry fuel to consumers, the company is aggressively implementing first mile connectivity projects with capital outlay of Rs 3,600 crore by 2024.During the current financial year, MCL supplied over 94 million tonnes of coal to consumers, registering a growth of about 21 per cent over last year.