With the production of thermal coal picking up, the government expects public sector behemoth Coal India to surpass its one billion tonne excavation target by the year 2020.
Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said, "We are expecting the companies to supersede coal production targets, I am hopeful that Coal India would exceed targets set for it by 2020." The production of thermal coal in the country has increased by eight per cent, the minister pointed out.
However, Coal India may miss its output target of 507 million tonne (MT) by 10 MT, during the current financial year, on account of various delays in operationalising the mines.
The government may set a target of 550 MT coal output for Coal India in the 2015-16 financial year as operations are looking up. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the government and Coal India on the same is likely to be signed shortly.
The state-run miner had missed its output target of 482 MT in the last financial year (2013-14) as it managed to produce only 462 MT of coal.
Goyal also said that the government is in the process of identifying 15-20 coal blocks to be auctioned in the next round and production from these mines would start soon. However, the government has not fixed any deadline as yet for completing the auction process for all the 204 coal blocks that were cancelled by the Supreme Court.
Recently, Goyal had said that importing coal was "unjustified", especially when the country was sitting on reserves totalling 300 billion tonne. "When the country is sitting on a huge coal reserve, to import it is unjustified. The production of coal has risen from 432 million tonne to 460 million tonne and will cross 493 million tonne this year, which will be an increase of over 30 million tonne," he said.
Goyal also emphasised that the BJP-led government at Centre has accorded a top priority to coal and generation of power, and that an all-out effort is being made to supply coal to electricity generating units across the country.
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