The government has advised power utilities to increase coal imports to meet fuel shortages and those that have fuel supply pacts with Coal India Ltd (CIL) to lift coal under "as is where is" scheme by arranging their own logistics.
"In order to ensure adequate availability of coal, CIL has been impressed upon to enhance production of domestic coal in the country and power utilities have also been advised to enhance import of coal," Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
Further, CIL has offered all power producers drawing coal under Fuel Supply Agreements (FSAs), to lift the coal on "as is where is" basis with the stipulation that they will make their own evacuation arrangements.
This scheme, earlier implemented by the coal companies, has been extended for 2014-15 also, Goyal said.
"All Thermal Power Plants (TPPs) including National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) having FSA from CIL sources have been informed to lift coal under this scheme by arranging their own logistics for movement from coal offered from various pithead locations," he said.
CIL has also offered one million tonne coal from cost plus mines of Western Coalfields Ltd, a CIL subsidiary, through short term MoU, Goyal said.
With a view to monitoring coal supplies to power sector, Goyal said, an Inter-Ministerial Sub-Group comprising representatives of ministries like power and coal has been constituted.
"This Sub-Group takes various operational decisions for meeting any contingent situations relating to power sector including critical coal stock position," Goyal said.
The minister further said that during the 2014-15 fiscal, as against domestic coal requirement of 527 MT, availability of domestic coal is 473 MT, leaving a shortfall of 54 MT.
The supply of coal to power sector from CIL during the April-June period was 88.66 MT as against the target of 101.61 MT. In order to meet this shortfall, power Utilities were advised to import coal.
"During the period April-May, 2014 power utilities have imported 7.6 MT against pro-rata target of 9.0 MT," the minister added.