Expressing concerns over lack of demand for power in the country, Coal Secretary Anil Swarup today wondered as to what would the government do with its ambitious 1 billion tonnes of production target for fossil fuel by 2020.
“For me the serious concerns are: Number one, there is hardly any demand for power. What we will do? We are planning to produce one billion tonnes of coal by 2020. What will I do with that coal,” he said.
“Someone has to look into these issues. How to increase this demand of power. It is very important because today per capita consumption of energy in India is equal to per capita consumption of the US in the late 90’s. If that is the pace than the demand has to go up,” the Secretary said.
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He further stated that the government is on a sticky-wicket where it doesn’t know what to do with the surplus coal.
In fact, in the current financial year, there was cut down in coal production so the fossil fuel does not catch fire at the pit heads.
“On 31st of March this year we had a balance of 56 million tonnes (MT) as inventory at pitheads and around 32 MT at the power plants. People ask me how do you manage this situation of surplus,” Swarup said.
He, however, added: “I say I would rather be in this situation then what I was a couple of years ago when everyone was running around …to reach out coal to these power plants. I am glad we are where we are.”
Government’s focus has now shifted to the quality of coal, he said.
He also stated that the Coal Ministry was focusing on the use of technology to ensure that the pilferages declines phenomenally.
“Today after initial experimentation every truck of coal India is GPS tracked. There is virtual mapping on the web and you know where the truck is. Each mine is videographed,” he said.
State-owned Coal India (CIL) which amounts for over 80 per cent of domestic coal production is eyeing one billion tonnes of coal production by 2020.