Even as Coal India is ramping up production in line with increasing demand, as many as 42 of its projects are running behind schedule due to delay in statutory clearances and related issues.

The state-owned miner completed five coal projects with a sanctioned capacity of 12.60 million tonne (mt) and capital of ₹1,769 crore during FY-22. It had further undertaken 117 coal projects with a sanctioned capacity of 918.86 mt and a sanctioned capital of ₹13,2634 crore. These are in various stages of implementation out of which 75 projects are on schedule and 42 are delayed, the company said in its annual report for 2021-22. 

“The major reasons for delay in implementation of these projects are delay in forest clearances,, land and issues related to resettlement and rehabilitation of the project affected,” the report said.

Based on the coal demand projection in Vision 2024 and subsequent demand projection on CIL, a roadmap has been prepared to project production plan in medium term wherein the company has envisaged one billion tonne coal production by FY-25 and beyond to meet the country’s demand. 

The proposed capital expenditure for the year FY-23 has been set at ₹16,500 crore.

According to CIL Chairman, Pramod Agrawal, coal, which holds a share of 55 per cent in country’s primary commercial energy, is the engine of growth for the energy sector. The entry of renewable energy sources should not be viewed as a threat to coal’s standing at least in immediate future.

“It was expected that renewable energy sources will contribute to the country’s fast expanding energy basket. From environmental perspective, this is a welcome move in view of the climate commitments made by India in COP26 at Glasgow. But till renewable energy starts contributing to the extent that it could take over coal’s role, coal cannot be dethroned from its energy pedestal,” he said in the annual report.

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