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CoalMin asks PowerMin to review fuel import plan for this fiscal

In order to avoid a possible coal shortage for electricity generation, the Coal Ministry has asked its power counterpart to review the fuel import plan for this fiscal as the target set is not commensurate with the plants' capacity addition envisaged for FY 2015.

The fuel import target for this fiscal is 94 million tonnes. It may be noted that half the thermal power stations in the country are left with less than a week's coal stock.

'It is our assessment that the target set for import for 2014-15 is not commensurate with the capacity addition envisaged for 2014-15. The shortfall in the import plant of CEA (Central Electricity Authority) has a bearing on the present crisis of coal stock at power stations,' Coal Secretary S K Srivastava said in a recent letter to Power Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha.

'It would be therefore, be desirable for MOP (Ministry of Power) to review the entire import plan of CEA to take contingency decision, if any, to avert shortfalls in coal stocks with the power plants,' the letter said.

Srivastava further suggested that either the Coal Ministry or Coal India (CIL) may also be associated in the exercise. The letter further said that Central Electricity Authority has made an import plan of 94 million tonnes (MT) for the current fiscal, out of which 40 MT is earmarked exclusively for imported coal based plants, leaving only 54 MT for indigenous coal based plants against a minimum requirement of 77 MT for bridging the gap of CIL sources only.

The Coal Ministry had in July last year had issued the Presidential Directive to CIL for signing fuel supply Agreements (FSAs) for a total capacity of 78,000 MW.

The supply of domestic coal to the power projects were restricted to 65 per cent, 65 per cent , 67 per cent and 75 percent during the remaining four years of Current Plan Period.

To meet its balance FSA obligations, the Coal Ministry said CIL may import coal and supply the same to the willing power plants on cost plus basis. Power plants may also directly import coal themselves, if they so opt.

According to the Central Electricity Authority data, 47 thermal power stations across the country had critical coal stock of less than seven days as on 23 September.
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