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India's coal import registered a decline of 2.7% to 15.22 million tonnes (MT) in August amid coal power plants facing depleted fuel stocks. According to data compiled by mjunction services, "Imports in August 2021 stood at around 15.22 million tonnes...imports in August 2021 were also down by 2.7 percent over August 2020."

The mjunction CEO and MD Vinaya Varma said the decline in the volume of coal import could be because of a steady hike in the seaborne coal prices coupled with initiatives taken by the domestic miners for import substitution.

India's coal imports during August 2021 through the major and non-major ports are estimated to have decreased by 6.71% over July 2021. Imports in July stood at 16.31 MT.

During April-August 2021, coal import stood at 92.49 MT, about 21.27% higher than 76.27 MT imported during April-August 2020. While the non-coking coal import was at 60.85 MT in the same period.

Coking coal imports were recorded at 22.19 MT, against 14.38 MT imported during the same period last year.

India has the world’s fourth-largest reserves and is the second-largest producer of coal. While Coal India Limited (CIL)’s annual production target is 670 mt for the current fiscal, the coal offtake is expected to be 740 mt.

Meanwhile, the country's electricity demand grew 4.9% during the first half of October, with supply falling short of demand by 1.4%. Increased economic activity after the second wave of the coronavirus has driven up electricity demand, resulting in a supply deficit due to a coal shortage that has forced northern states to cut power this month for up to 14 hours a day.

According to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) India’s 119 coal-fuelled power projects, totalling 129.86GW, had four days of stocks. Besides, 16 plants located near coal mines totalling 35.2GW capacity have five days of fuel stocks, as of 13 October.

Recently, Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi said closure of some mines, and inundation of a few others due to monsoon led to the crisis but there is no need to panic as the situation is improving.

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