NEW DELHI: India is likely to stop coal imports by 2024, Coal minister Pralhad Joshi on Thursday said. The country’s total coal output will touch 900 million tonne (MT) this fiscal, the minister added.
While speaking at an event at the office of the Comptroller & Auditor General of India, he said efforts are being made by Coal India and its subsidiaries to attain this goal.
“Commercial coal mine auctioning process has been made transparent and institutionalised by the government. Coal import has come down and by 2024 import will be stopped,” he said. He added mineral exploration norms have been relaxed recently and 9 private exploration agencies got accredited so far.
This comes after India faced a major coal crisis, which led to power outages in many states in past 2 years. In 2021, stocks at power plants touched lowest to 7.23 MT. In May 2022, at the peak of summer, several states complained their thermal power plants were running out of coal. Subsequently, the government had to issue two 6 MT tenders for importing coal.
This time, the government claims to have sufficient coal. As per Central Electricity Authority (CEA), nearly 77 power plants have critical stock till October 20. Meanwhile, Joshi has complemented CAG’s office for bringing out the first-ever compendium of asset accounts on mineral assets. He said the report presents a picture of the mineral resources spread across different states.