Coal India Ltd. (CIL), the largest producer of the fuel in the country, will invest over Rs.62,500 crore in the next five years with an aim to ramp up annual production to 908 million tonnes by 2019-2020, the government has said.
The State-run miner in 2014-15 had produced 494 million tonnes of coal. Even though this was three per cent lower that the targeted 507 million tonnes, the production registered an incremental growth of record 32 million tonnes, as compared with cumulative growth of 31 million tonnes in the four year period from 2010 to 2014.
Additionally, in the first quarter (April-June) of the current fiscal, CIL registered a growth of 12.3 per cent in production at 121 million tonnes — the highest growth for any quarter in the history of the company. This, Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said, was mainly on the back of speedy environmental clearances and other policies of the Modi-Government.
In an interview, Mr. Swarup pointed out, “Coal India has acquired about 2,000 hectares of land in the past 10 months, even as the debate was on about land acquisition. That again is a record. They have got 41 environment clearances. This has led to opening of new mines. Today, we are opening one new mine every month and expanding existing mines.”
He added, “As a consequence of these clearances and acquisitions of land, the production has gone up. The power plants, today, have inventory of over 20 days compared to 4-5 days or even 1-2 days same time last year.”
Mr. Swarup stressed that the increase in production is not on account of the recently auctioned coal mines. “Jump in coal production has nothing to do with coal mines…It is only to because of coal India,” he said, adding that of the 67 mines successfully auctioned/allotted seven mines are operational and more than 2 million tonnes of coal has been mined. Meanwhile, in a written reply to Lok Sabha, Piyush Goyal, Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy, said the investment envisaged to meet the production target in the next five years was Rs.62,590.50 crore and would be met from internal resources of CIL.
As per the details provided by the Minister, the production target for the current year was set at 550 million tonnes, which would be increased to 597.60 million tonnes in 2016-17, 660.70 million tonnes in 2017-18, 773.70 million tonnes in 2018-19 and 908.10 million tonnes in 2019-20.
Likewise, the investment planned for the current year stands at Rs.5,990.50 crore. The yearly investment from 2016-17 are expected to be Rs.12,000 crore, Rs.16,000 crore, Rs.14,700 crore and Rs.13,900 crore, respectively.