Friday, May 13, 2022

India’s coal production rises by 29% to 66.58 MT in April

The government said that the country's coal production rose 29 percent to 66.58 Million Tonnes (MT) in April

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New Delhi: The government said on Tuesday the country’s coal production rose 29 percent to 66.58 Million Tonnes (MT) in April. This comes at a time when the country is witnessing a power crisis on account of various factors, including a shortage of the dry fuel. The country’s coal production in April 2021 stood at 51.62 MT, as per provisional statistics of the Ministry of Coal.

The ministry said in a statement that the despatch of coal to power utilities grew 18.15 percent to 61.81 MT during April 2022, compared to 52.32 MT in April 2020.

Top 22 mines record over 100% coal production

Of the top 37 coal-producing mines, 22 have performed more than 100 percent, while the production from another 10 mines stood between 80 and 100 percent.

The ministry further said that a decline in the prices of imported coal has been observed since the end of October last year. However, international prices are still at a high level.

Power crisis

The coal ministry had earlier said the current power crisis is mainly on account of a sharp decline in electricity generation from different fuel sources and not due to non-availability of domestic coal.

In an interview to PTI, Coal Secretary AK Jain had attributed the low coal stocks at power plants to several factors such as heightened power demand due to the boom in the economy post-pandemic, early arrival of summer, a rise in the price of gas and imported coal and sharp fall in electricity generation by coastal thermal power plants.

He had added that a slew of measures are already underway to enhance total power supply in the country.

Gas-based power generation, which has fallen drastically in the country, aggravated the crisis.

The coastal thermal power plants are now generating around half of their capacity because of the sharp rise in the prices of imported coal. This has resulted in a gap between the demand and supply of electricity.

The secretary had said states located in the South and West have been dependent on imported coal. And when domestic coal is dispatched through wagons/ rakes to the plants in these states to make up for the loss in imported coal generation, the turnaround time of rakes is more than 10 days, which creates rake availability issues for other plants.

Since last year, the railways has loaded more coal than ever, even by curtailing rake supply to other sectors to meet the enhanced demand of the power sector.

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