NEW DELHI: Power secretary Subhash Chandra Garg on Tuesday called for opening up India’s coal mining segment to global commercial mining players in order to boost output. The current shortage in coal supply has jeopardised about Rs 5 lakh crore of investment made in coal-based thermal power plants, he warned.
Speaking at a round table on coal, Garg said there was an “urgent need” to bring in large global commercial miners to the segment since India importing 20 per cent of its coal requirements was untenable. “Many of our coal-based power plants are gasping for breath. Some are in NCLT, some are operating at 15 or 20 per cent, some are not producing at all... As much as Rs 5 lakh crore investment is in jeopardy. If a few large global miners who can produce around 100 million tonnes of coal per annum enter the segment 'in the next two-three or five years' the situation would change for the better,” he said.
Garg also said there was “something wrong” with how India’s coal economy was being managed. “We must become an exporter of coal, rather than an importer… Close to around 290 MT of coal can be produced annually from the mines allotted to the power sector. But, they are producing only 15-20 MT, including NTPC,” he noted.