The Indian Agro & Recycled Paper Mills Association (IARPMA) has reached out to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on coal shortage faced by the domestic paper and pulp industries.

“The coal availability to paper mills has aggravated to such a level that it is compelling many mills to cut down their production or force closure. Such impediments are adversely impacting the paper sector, and in turn, would trickle down to the common people,,” IARPMA President Pramod Agarwal said in a letter to the Prime Minister.

The coal procurement indigenously by the pulp and paper industries has been affected forcing them to rely on imports and grid power to produce the paper products. The cost of paper and paper board have skyrocketed due to reliance on costly imports, he added.

“High imported coal prices and inflated ocean freight rates have made it commercially unviable for the paper industry to run their plants. Therefore, running the plants solely on imported coal is not viable for paper mills, particularly small and medium size paper mills in the country,” IARPMA pointed out.

Agarwal pointed out the regular appeals made in the pas, for urgent resolution to improve the situation. However, no relief has been provided to the paper industry till date compelling them to suffer and sustain under very difficult circumstances.

If equitable coal supplies are ensured between the power and non-power sectors, there would be adequate stock for everyone ,he suggested.

As per the CCEA guidelines, the proportion of coal allocation between the power and non-power sectors (NPS) should be kept at the same level as the average proportion of the last 5 years—75 per cent to power and 25 per cent to NPS. However, the actual supply ratio to the NPS consumers has been much lower during the last one year, he added.