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Coal India Limited (CIL) clarified on Sunday that supply of the dry fuel to non-power sector has been reduced, but not stopped altogether, as alleged by some quarters. The step has been taken to fulfil emergency requirements for electricity plants as the nation faces a coal crisis, a senior CIL official said.

“We are regulating supply to meet the sudden jump in demand of coal from the power sector but have not stopped it to non-power consumers. Our daily supplies are in excess of 2 lakh tonnes to non-power industries against the normal supply of around 3 lakh tonnes," the official told PTI.

Manufacturers from several industries have alleged adverse impact on their production due to the coal crisis. Cement, aluminium, and iron and steel sectors are among the major non-power consumers of coal.

Coal India is meeting the supply target given by the government to power producers, the official said, adding that there had been a little dip due to the Dussehra holidays.

“Regulating supply to non-power users will stop once the stock level of the critical power plants reaches seven days. The government is taking all measures to ensure that power generation is not affected with a minimum hurdle to other industries," the CIL official said.

South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL), a subsidiary of CIL, has reportedly suspended supplies to non-power consumers on a temporary basis.

In response to this, an official of SECL said the content of a letter asking the Railways to arrange more rakes was misinterpreted by a section of the media.

“Supplies are regulated to prioritise the power sector and more railway rakes are needed to take coal there. Non-power sector users are encouraged to take coal through roads," the SECL official said.

Subsidiaries cannot decide on regulating supply consumers on their own.

E-auction of coal had been stopped to meet the crisis.

The daily average coal off-take in the month of October was 1.73 million tonne. Till Saturday, the total off-take was 27.75 million tonne.

Union Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi had on Tuesday said the government is making every effort to meet the coal demand of power producers, and stressed that steps are being taken to ramp up the dry-fuel supply to 2 million tonnes per day, from the current overall dispatch of 1.95 million tonnes.

The shortage of coal -- which makes up around 70 per cent of India's electricity mix -- has forced rotational power cuts in several states since early this month.

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