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.
66 CIL coal mine projects facing delays
State-owned CIL's 66 projects are facing delays due to reasons including land acquisition problem as well as rehabilitation and resettlement issues. The PSU is eyeing one billion tonnes of coal output by 2020.
"Out of the 123 coal mining projects (of Coal India) costing Rs 20 crore and above, 57 projects are running on schedule and 66 are delayed," an official said. Of the 66 projects facing delays, 34 coal mining projects are running behind the schedule.