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India's coal imports to reach 160 million mt in fiscal 2016-17


India is expected to import around 160.16 million mt of coal in thecurrent fiscal year 2016-17 (April-March), down 20% year on year, thecountry's coal minister Piyush Goyal said Thursday.

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Demand for coal in the current fiscal year is estimated at 884.87 millionmt, against expected domestic supply of around 724.71 million mt -- leaving ademand-supply gap of 160.16 million mt to be met through imports, Goyal saidin a written reply to a question in parliament.

India has imported 86.59 million mt of coal valued at Rupee 334.89billion ($4.9 billion) during the April-August period, Goyal said. He however,did not provide corresponding data for the same period of last year.

Of the estimated supply of 724.71 million mt this fiscal year, state-runCoal India Limited, or CIL, will supply 598.61 million mt, while SingareniCollieries Company Limited, or SCCL, will supply 58 million mt.

The remaining 68.10 million mt will come from other sources, includingcaptive blocks, the minister said.

Goyal added that no power producer has approached CIL for supply ofimported coal this year.

In accordance to the presidential directive issued to CIL and under theprovision of the new Fuel Supply Agreement, power utility sector consumersholding annual contracts with CIL can opt for CIL to supply part of thatcontracted quantity with imported coal.

The consumers can also import the coal directly as coal comes under theopen general license category.

According to coal ministry data, India imported around 199.88 million mtof coal valued at Rupee 845.035 billion last fiscal year, which ended March31, 2016.

In fiscal 2014-15, the imports stood at 217.78 million mt, valued atRupee 1,045 billion.

In order to meet coal demand internally and make India self-sufficient incoal production, the government is focused on increasing domestic production,which includes efforts to expedite environment and forest clearances, landacquisition and coordinated efforts with the railways ministry for movement ofcoal, the minister said.

CIL is also aiming to produce 1 billion mt of coal by 2019-20.

--Sapna Dogra, by Irene Tang,