The Union Coal Minister, Mr Shriprakash Jaiswal, said that the Union Government was still undecided on the Plan Panel proposal recommending Coal India to import up to 45 million tonnes of thermal coal and supply the same to the power sector at a ‘pooled’ price.

“We are still debating the issues involved and will take a call this month,” Mr Jaiswal told media persons on Wednesday. “July will witness a decision making both on FSA (by the CIL board) as well as imports,” he added.

Not a magic wand

Elaborating the issue, the CIL Chairman, Mr Narsing Rao, said: “There are operational issues involved and we are currently in discussion with all those concerned, including the consumers, to arrive at a conclusion.”

Indicating that a pooled price would mean increase in prices of domestic coal to partially subsidise the cost of imported coal, the CIL Chairman said: “It is no magic wand that will solve all the problems.”

Objections

During a meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office on June 22, CIL reportedly cited political hurdles in enhancing price of domestic coal, as it would primarily hit the old power plants — mostly controlled by the State utilities.

Moreover, since CIL should import through State-owned trading agencies like MMTC or STC, it would make imports costlier.

FSA

Meanwhile, the CIL board will meet on July 10 to discuss the amendments in the fuel supply pacts as recommended by the Prime Minister’s office. “Half of the FSAs are already signed, we are hopeful that the issues will be resolved soon,” Mr Jaiswal said.

“CIL has been on target in terms of production growth and is marginally short of target on off-take growth during the April-June period,” Mr Jaiswal said.

(This article was published on July 4, 2012)
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