‘Coal supply issue to be resolved soon’

November 1st, 2008 - 11:07 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, Nov 1 (IANS) The coal ministry Saturday expressed hope that the controversy between the power utilities and Coal India Ltd (CIL) over the signing of a fuel supply agreement would be settled “within a week”. Speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony to celebrate the 33rd foundation day of CIL, Minister of State for Coal Santosh Bagrodia said the much-debated “trigger level” - the level of supply below which CIL has to pay a penalty - could be settled at 75 percent between the coal producer and the power utilities.

“The ideal figure is 75 percent. We are still negotiating the matter and we hope to resolve it within a week’s time,” Bagrodia told reporters.

The state-run National Thermal Power Corp (NTPC) had earlier asked for a trigger level of 90 percent of the total committed coal supply to power utilities.

Talking about the increased demand of coal across the country, the minister said: “CIL has to reach such a position in three years where it can achieve a growth of 20 percent every year.”

The growing demand for coal has outnumbered production growth of CIL, which is now at around five percent. To match that growing need, CIL should also increase its production and should make a plan for it and submit it to the ministry, he said, adding: “There is no dearth of support from the government side.”

CIL has recently been conferred the Navaratna status.

Bagrodia said coal has huge potential and it will play a pivotal role for coming half a century.

The minister has also asked CIL to increase coal production by 160 million tonnes at the fifth year of the 11th Five Year Plan, which was 80-90 million tonnes at the end of the 10th Five Year Plan.

During the 11th plan, CIL has a target to produce 520.5 million tonnes.

“We have to import a total of 50 million tonnes of coal in the current year,” Bagrodia said. Out of this 50 million tonnes, 25 million tonnes are thermal coal and 25 million tonnes are met coke.

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