New Delhi: India will be self-sufficient in coal production for thermal power generation by 2024, Coal Secretary Dr Anil Kumar Jain told the media after a review meeting at Western Coalfields Ltd (WCL) in Nagpur. Dr Jain said that India's coal production is expected to rise by 10 percent by 2024, eliminating the need to import coal for power generation. WCL Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Manoj Kumar, directors, chief vigilance officers and other senior officers were present at the meeting that took place on February 15.
The Coal Secretary said that thermal power plants import around 90 Million Tonnes (MT) of coal. There is a possibility that this year, 60-70 MT of this will be achieved domestically, he added. Dr Jain said that part of the increase in coal production is expected from the coal mines that have been auctioned for commercial mining, and in addition, Coal India Limited (CIL) is also expected to increase its production by 10 percent. The government has set a target of 1 Billion Tonne (BT) coal production for Coal India by 2024-25.
The Secretary added that India's power demand is projected to rise by 10 percent by next year.
India has the world's second-largest coal reserves, around 90 percent of which is high-ash coal while the rest is low ash coal. Since high ash coal is suitable for power generation, it is possible to achieve self-sufficiency in coal production to meet all the demand coming from thermal power plants. Last year, when demand for coal by thermal power plants shot up due to a sudden surge in power generation, high international coal prices pushed several imported coal-based power plants to suspend operations or to seek coal supply from domestic coal miners. A large part of this demand coming from imported coal-based thermal power plants was substituted with domestic coal by CIL and its subsidiaries.
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