State-run mining giant Coal India today blamed early rains and inclement weather in the eastern region for playing spoilsport in achieving its 98.7 million tonnes (MT) target for the first quarter.
Already plagued by a plethora of problems like delay in green clearances to its projects hurting production in the face of ever-widening demand-supply gap, the Maharatna company missed the April-June target by 2.4 MT.
"Given the production trend in April and May, we were quite hopeful of meeting 98.7 MT target for the first quarter. However, early and heavy rains hit most of our coalfields in the eastern belt making production as well as transportation tough," Coal India Chairman N C Jha told PTI.
With more than double average rainfall recorded at Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL), Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL) and Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL) in the region in June this year as compared to a-year-ago period, Jha said the company could achieve only 96.3 MT production.
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Out of the eight subsidiaries of CIL, five are situated in the eastern region including Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) besides the exploration arm Coal Mines Planning and Design Institute (CMPDIL).
Jha, however, exuded confidence that the Maharatna company would achieve the 452-MT target for the current fiscal.
"Our growth in the current month is fine. From the trend it seems the company will be able to achieve the target of 452 MT for the current fiscal," he said.
Against a backdrop where more than 150 mining proposals by the company have been facing delays in environmental clearances, the world's largest coal miner had missed its last fiscal's production target by recording 431.325 MT output against the revised target of 440.20 MT.
CIL had blamed it to delays in clearance to its projects. The coal ministry, too, has repeatedly expressed concerns over such delays, saying green delays could result in a production loss of about 190 MT by March, 2012.
Meanwhile the demand-supply gap of the dry-fuel is projected at 142 MT this fiscal and is likely to reach 200 MT by 2016-17.
CIL, accounts for more than 82 per cent of the domestic production.