Coal production in the country rose 3.3 per cent to 557.5 million tonnes during the 2012-13 financial year that ended on 31 March 2013, achieving about 97 per cent of the annual target, against the 1.4 per cent annual production growth recorded in the previous financial year.
Giving this information in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today, minister of state for coal Pratik Prakash Bapu Patil said the government has reallocated two of the 47 de-allocated coal blocks while allocating three other deallocated coal blocks to Coal India Ltd.
The coal ministry deallocated the 47 coal blocks based on the recommendation of a review committee and the inter-ministerial group (IMG), mainly an account of lack of progress of development of the blocks.
The government had targeted production of 42 million tonnes of coal from captive blocks in 2012-13, which was 7.3 per cent of the overall target for coal production in the country, envisaged for 2012-13. However, production of coal from captive blocks was 36.8 million tonnes in 2012-13, the minister informed.
As such, coal production depends on various factors such as the pace of land acquisition, obtaining environment and forestry clearances and other factors, he stated.
Meanwhile, the government has taken various steps to increase coal production during the 12th Plan period, so as to meet the growing demand as also to reduce import dependence, the minster pointed out.
These include implementation of new projects and expansion of existing projects, improving coal evacuation and movement, involvement of private sector and achieving close coordination with various agencies for clearances of projects, he said, adding that there would still be a gap between domestic demand and production by the terminal year of 12th Plan (2016-17), which would have to be met through imports.
One of the ways forward to reduce the dependence on imports is to devise a public private partnership (PPP) policy framework with CIL as one of the partners in order to increase the production of coal for supply to power producers and other consumers, the minister pointed out.
In fact, this policy was announced in the 2013-14 union budget on 28 February 2013. The coal ministry had since set up a committee to devise a PPP policy framework with CIL as one of the partners. The committee has since held its first meeting and deliberated on various models.
The country imported 110.43 million tonnes of coal during the April 2012-January 2013 period of the 2012-13 fiscal as planned coal production in the country stood at 604.55 million tonnes during the period against an expected demand of 769.69 million tonnes.
Thus the estimated shortfall of 165.14 million tonnes of coal had to be met through imports.