Indian non-energy coal users claim coal shortage; the government denies
Band Sudarshan Varadhan
NEW DELHI, February 15 (Reuters) – Aluminum smelters, textile mills, sponge iron and fertilizer makers in India say they face a shortage of coal as power generators absorb the bulk of supplies.
The best Indian miner Coal India Ltd COAL.NSwhich accounts for more than 80% of India’s fuel production, and the Federal Coal Ministry, deny there is a problem.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi dated February 7, eight industry associations, including the Aluminum Association of India and the Fertilizer Association of India, urged the government to ensure a “justified coal allocation ratio between the electricity and industries”.
They don’t give precise figures on the extent of the shortage, but industry officials said the government’s policy of prioritizing coal shipments to power generators over the non-energy sector in response to high prices and reduced imports had caused panic and uncertainty.
Supply to the non-electric sector was lower than a year ago, and the number of trains supplying it with coal fell to 12-14 trains a day at the end of January, from 36 in August, Coal Consumers said. Association of India.
India’s coal ministry told Reuters in a statement it expected the availability of trains to the unregulated sector to improve, adding that any shortfall in the number of trains would soon be resolved.
India’s coal imports fell to their lowest level in nine years in 2021, largely due to high world prices, increasing consumer dependence on Coal India.
The miner has increased production to record levels, but has largely gone to utilities – in keeping with its heritage of prioritizing power plants.
While increased production from Coal India has helped India weather its worst energy crisis in nearly four years, the non-energy sector is still suffering from a lack of supply from Coal India, officials say. ‘industry.
“The industries are unable to determine the extent of the crisis and plan for the future,” the associations said in the letter.
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(Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan; editing by Barbara Lewis)
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