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Coal shortage hits non-power sector

Suresh P Iyengar Mumbai | Updated on October 23, 2021

Lack of fuel at the plant-end is forcing many non-power consumers to stall operations   -  REUTERS

Sponge iron, chemical, paper makers in eastern States facing closure, urge Ministry to allocate limited portion of supply

Most of the small and medium-size metal, sponge iron, chemical and paper manufacturers in eastern States are on the verge of closure due to acute coal short supply to the non-power sector.

In a letter written to Ministry of Coal, Subhasri Chaudhuri, Secretary General, Coal Consumers’ Association of India said the non-power sector consumers including captive power plants, aluminium, steel, cement, sponge iron, chemical and paper have long been facing a shortage of coal as supply through the rail mode has been halted by most of the Coal India subsidiaries.

This situation, he said, has worsened further as supply to the non-power consumers has been completely halted through the surface transport, as well. The coal companies have also refrained from conducting any further e-auctions where the non-power sector can participate. Lack of fuel at the plant-end is forcing many non-power consumers to stall operations while several others are on the verge of closure, he added.

Steadily rising global coal prices and expensive sea freight have also rendered import of coal almost impossible for non-power consumers to make up for the lack of supply from indigenous sources.

The current predicament is a massive blow to the non-power sector of the country which has been gradually turning around after suffering for over a year due to the pandemic outbreak last year, said Chaudhuri.

The Association has urged the Coal Ministry to allocate a limited portion of supply to the non-power sector to ensure its survival.

Published on October 23, 2021

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