Kolkata: For the first time, Coal India Ltd (CIL) is contemplating import of coal to meet the production-demand gap for the domestic market.
A CIL source told PTI import of coal would be a reality in the near future for the first time by the coal behemoth and the Centre was backing the move for several reasons.
“Centre will allow CIL to import coal after it announces the new coal sale policy expected this week,” he said.
The current total demand-supply gap of coal is between four and five per cent out of which half of which is coking coal.
“Our import would be around 10-15 million tonne. The total shortfall in supply is about 30-35 million tonne and coking coal is 20 million tonne,” the CIL official said.
“The new coal sale policy will put additional responsibility on CIL to meet the demand. And we can only put more coal up for sale than production by import in the short run as the production enhancement programme would take some time to bear fruit,” the source said.
With the economy booming, demand for coal was rising sharply. CIL was facing problems in land acquisition for mining in places like Jharkhand and under these circumstances import was vital, CIL officials said.
CIL would focus on import of non-coking coal for power, sponge iron and the cement sector. Steel companies import coking coal on their own.