The Chamber organized a Seminar on “India’s Coal Sector – Vision 2020” with Shri Anil Swarup, IAS, Secretary, Ministry of Coal, Govt of India as the Chief Guest today.
- “We have coal sufficient enough for power and non–power sectors”, said Shri Anil Swarup, addressing the House. He said that currently the supply side problems had been taken care of, the problem was more on the demand side.
- Shri Swarup was of the opinion that earlier all the problems were because of shortage in coal production.
- The Coal Secretary congratulated Coal India Ltd. (CIL) Team for a transparent process as also for record coal production over a period of 2–3 years. CIL had produced 32 Million Tonnes (MT) of coal more in 2014–15 over the previous year, the figure increased to 44 MT more in 2015–16, registering a growth of 9 p.c over 2014–15.
- He mentioned about 3 contributing factors leading to higher availability of coal, viz. Availability of Land, Environment & Forest Clearance and Evacuation of Coal.
- Since coal was available, inventory period at power plants came down to 15 days and from 22 days, he informed the House.
- Shri Swarup focused on ensuring quality of coal. He also spoke on control of pilferage through geo-fencing, video tracking and a totally transparent system.
- While charting out the growth path for 2020, the Coal Secretary mentioned about the strategy to curb imports by augmenting production of quality coal. “There would be no import for power sector by 31st March of this fiscal year”, he announced.
- Regarding demand side management, he was emphatic that Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) would play a crucial role for financial sustainability as also to generate enough demand for the coal industry.
- He expressed concern over the decline of Plant Load Factor (PLF) of the power plants, which had come down to 59–60 p.c.
- Focusing on the balance between environmental needs and demand for quality coal & power, he mentioned that 15 washeries were being commissioned by CIL. All coal from the pithead would move through covered conveyor belts, which would reduce pollution drastically, he stated. He put emphasis on forestation of land.
- Speaking on energy mix, the Coal Secretary was of the opinion that dependence on coal would not reduce even after 2 decades. Coal and non–conventional energy could supplement each other to generate power in the long run, he felt. He however expressed concern on PLF of Solar being as low as 20 p.c.
- Shri Swarup informed the House that exploring Coal Bed Methane was being handled by the Ministry of Petroleum, GOI.
- On a query, Shri Swarup pointed out that the Central Government was considering a special comprehensive package for the Steel sector including coal issues.
Addressing the House, Shri Rajeev Kumar, IAS, Secretary, Department of Commerce & Industries, Government of West Bengal said that the state Govt. had adopted competitive bidding concessions on mine & minerals.
Shri Kapil Thapar, Executive Director, Fuel Management, CESC, RP-SG Group complimented the Coal Department and CIL for phenomenal level of production, linkage option of coal and non–coal sector, import substitution through rationalization of linkage as also CIL’s commitment on quality. He, however, expressed concern on declining PLF. He stressed on a transparent Distribution Policy Framework.
Earlier in his Welcome Address, Shri Ramesh Agarwal, Senior Vice President of the Chamber said that India to reach the ambitious target of 1.5 BT of domestic coal production by 2020, the focus would have to be on maximum production efficiency as also huge investments in coal, power, steel, cement and infrastructure. Success of UDAY bonds would also be crucial as also control on dependence on imports.
The Seminar ended with a hearty Vote of Thanks by Shri Vishal Jhajharia, Vice President of the Chamber.