India's coal imports seen touching 194 million tonnes by 2017

India coal imports are expected to touch 194 million tonnes in 2017 against current levels of 135 million tonnes as demand for coal to fuel power plants rise, according to government estimates.

''Current year, we have to import 135 million tonnes of coal to meet our power sector requirement. The demand will increase further as we are setting up new power plants. It is expected that we will have to import 194 million tonnes of coal in 2017,'' minister of state for coal Pratik Prakashbapu Patil said.

Patel was speaking at a seminar organised by World Confederation Productivity Science (India) and World Academy of Productivity Science.

Over the years, he said, the country's dependence on imported coal would go up, instead of coming down.

''There will be more dependency on imported coal. The dependency has increased from 6 per cent to 13 per cent in the last five to six years,'' he pointed out.

The Planning Commission estimates the demand-supply gap in coal to touch 142 million tones this fiscal, with domestic availability of only 554 million tonnes against the requirement of 696 million tonnes.