“With coal fired power stations comfortably stocked with over 25 mt of coal coupled with 32 mt stock at pitheads of Coal India’s subsidiaries there is sufficient coal in the system. This gives us the leeway to clear off all arrear rakes to non-power consumers in near future”, a Coal India
Company sources estimate that this entire backlog of rake allocation can be cleared in the next 3-4 months. The bulk of non-power consumers constitute captive power plants (CPPs), and the steel and cement sectors besides others.
This backlog first started during October-November 2016 coinciding with the coal crisis which crippled the nation.
The Coal India
executive said that during mid 2016-17, when Coal India
was ramping up production to meet its target, the demand for coal from the state-owned power sector declined due to enough supplies. Faced with this situation, Coal India booked rakes for the non-power sector for speedy delivery and for boosting sales in this sector.
“However, from the second quarter of 2017-18 there was a sudden surge in demand for coal from the power plants. In a bid to boost supplies to the stressed power utilities of the country, Coal India sent coal on priority through the rail mode”, the official said.
As a result of impacted movement of rakes to non-power sector, the backlog kept piling up for the bookings already made for this sector. To cater to the demands of non-power sector, Coal India at the time offered increased dispatches by road.
According to union coal minister, Pralhad Joshi, the highest priority accorded by the Indian Railways is towards transportation of coal, especially for the power plants.
“In 2018-19, all commodities loaded by the Indian Railways was 1223.29 mt, out of which coal loading was 605.82 mt, which is almost 50 per cent”, he said in a response to a question in the Lok Sabha.
In the current financial year, Coal India has set a production and sales target of 660 mt which will scale up to 710 mt in the next financial year. During 2024-25, the company aspires to achieve a production of 940 mt of coal.