India’s cumulative coal production rose by 15.8 per cent y-o-y to 67.21 million tonnes (mt) in September, while despatch grew 15.2 per cent y-o-y to 70.33 mt.

However, production declined by 2 per cent on a monthly basis, whereas despatch fell by 6 per cent m-o-m.

The production of Coal India (CIL) rose 12.6 per cent y-o-y to 51.44 mt in September 2023 compared to 45.67 mt in September last year.

The cumulative coal production (April-September) witnessed a quantum jump of 12.06 per cent to 428.25 mt in FY24 compared to 382.16 mt during the same period in FY23.

During September 2023, CIL dispatched 55.06 mt of coal in comparison to 48.91 mt in September 2022, representing a growth of 12.57 per cent.

The cumulative coal dispatch (April-September) rose almost 11 per cent to 462.32 MT in FY24 as compared to 416.64 mt during the corresponding period in FY23.

The Coal Ministry noted that the sector witnessed an unprecedented upswing, with production, dispatch and stock levels soaring to remarkable heights. This exceptional growth is attributed to the unwavering dedication of coal PSUs, which have played a pivotal role in driving this extraordinary progress.

This underscores the efficiency of the coal supply chain, ensuring the seamless distribution of coal nationwide, it added.

Depleting stocks

Even as coal production and despatch appreciated on an annual basis in September, the stocks at power plants depleted during the month.

According to the National Power Portal, the coal stocks at domestic coal-based (DCB) power plants stood at 21.7 mt as of September 30, against a daily requirement of 2.6 mt. The percentage of actual stocks vis-a-vis normative stocks was 46 per cent. The number of plants with critical stocks stood at 54.

In contrast, on September 1, coal stocks at DCB plants stood at 27.59 mt (against 23.07 mt on September 23). The percentage of actual stocks vis-a-vis normative stocks was 55 per cent (compared to 48 per cent on September 23). Plants with critical stocks were 40 (September 23: 41 plants).

Anticipating a shortfall, the Power Ministry, earlier this month, directed DCB plants to import 4 per cent coal by weight till March 2024 as it anticipates a deficit of around 7 mt in H2 FY24.