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Increase coal production to meet thermal plants requirements
Union Power Ministry has sought increase in domestic coal production and has opted for status quo on imported coal to meet thermal plants requirements.
UNION POWER Ministry has asked the coal ministry to increase the domestic coal production to meet fully the coal requirements of thermal plants.
The coal shortage for the thermal plants in the country is around 54 million tones (MT) and to bridge the gap import of 35 MT coal is being made in the current financial year. The Ministry has ruled out the possibility of increasing coal import to 50 MT next year and has instead decided to maintain coal import level at the current financial year’s level.
It may be mentioned that boilers of existing thermal plants can not cope with more 10% imported coal blending. Moreover, every 10% imported coal blending increases generation cost by around 40 paise per unit.
The coal shortage in the country is to increase every year with the coming of new thermal projects. Moreover the coal being supplied to thermal plants is of E or F grade quality which increases ash contents to more than 40 percent. The installation of washeries to improve the coal quality is another way out.
There are 16 coal based thermal plants in the country which have less than 4 days coal stock as on today In the northern region these  includes Panipat  in Haryana; Kota, Suratgarh and Chhabra in Rajashthan . The main reason given is no or less import of coal.
The   present coal demand of 550 MT is to increase to 950 Mt in next five years. In view of this Union Power Ministry has sought the early clearances of pending clearances by Environment Ministry. Ministry has sought forest clearance of all projects irrespective of their locations. There are more than 200 coal blocks which comes under the areas where permission has not been given and thus hampering full utilization of all the coal blocks. 
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