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Coal India to clear backlog

The public sector miner has clocked a double digit growth in January

By A Staff Reporter in Calcutta

  • Published 29.01.20, 12:53 AM
  • Updated 29.01.20, 12:53 AM
Coal India headquarters in Calcutta
Coal India headquarters in Calcutta (Shutterstock)

Coal India hopes to clear its supply backlog to some sectors by March, with power plants stocked adequately with the fuel.

The public sector miner in 2017-18 and 2018-19 had diverted coal from the non-regulated sectors such as aluminium, iron and steel and cement to meet the demand of the power plants, creating a backlog.

According to Coal India officials, the arrears to the non-power sector at the start of 2019-20 was around 5,143 rakes. “It has been brought down to 1,116 and we are hopeful of clearing the rest by the end of the current fiscal,” a Coal India official said. A rake can carry around 3,800 tonnes of coal. Coal India has stepped up production after the monsoon season and has increased the supply to the power sector.

A total of 65.66 million tonnes (mt) is currently available that includes 31.41mt at the Coal India pitheads and 34.25mt at the power plants (as of January 26), sufficient for 19 days consumption. The number is expected to rise to 22 days next month.

“Better management of supply logistics meant that the coal stock at the power stations was maintained throughout the year and the number of critical power plants never touched double digits during the fiscal,” the official said.

There has also been an overall lack of demand with thermal power generation falling short of targets by nearly 9 per cent in this fiscal till January 19, 2020.

With the power plants sufficiently stocked up, Coal India has the leeway to clear the backlog of over two years.

Coal India has clocked a double digit growth in January with production at 54.17mt till January 27, growing 10.7 per cent over the corresponding period previous year. The miner expects to add another 8mt by the end of the month, averaging around 2 million tonnes per day output during the month.

“With abundant resource capacity, Coal India can meet the country’s coal demand to a considerable extent.