South Eastern Coalfields curtails coal supply to private firms

August 30th, 2008 - 4:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Raipur, Aug 30 (IANS) India’s leading coal producer South Eastern Coalfields Ltd (SECL) has curtailed coal supply to private parties in nine states to help the state-run power plants tide over the present coal supply crisis, a company official said Saturday.”Following the order of the union government, SECL has curtailed coal supplies to the private parties up to 30 percent to ensure reserves for the state-run power plants that are reeling under severe coal crises,” SECL spokesperson Alok Sinha told IANS.

According to Sinha, the crisis, coupled with delay in shipping of imported coal, is temporary and the company will soon restore normal supply to the private parties.

SECL, the highest profit making subsidiary of Coal India Ltd, has an annual production of about 93.79 million tonnes from its 93 mines - 72 underground, 20 open cast and one mixed mine spread out in five districts of Chhattisgarh and three of Madhya Pradesh.

Industries in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh are getting coal from SECL.

Chhattisgarh’s sponge iron industry, which is already facing a severe iron ore supply crisis, will be hit hard by the SECL decision. Nearly 36 percent of the total coal produced by the SECL is going to Chhattisgarh.

“The sponge iron industry in Chhattisgarh is yet to overcome iron ore shortage and now we have to deal with coal crisis. If SECL continues to curtail the supply, the majority of state’s 125 sponge units will have to be closed down by Sep 15,” Chhattisgarh Sponge Iron Manufacturers Association president Anil Nachrani said.

The 125 sponge iron units in the state contribute about 35 percent of the country’s total annual sponge iron output of nearly 20 million tonnes.

Sponge iron is an alternative to steel scrap and is used as a raw material for manufacturing steel products.

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