FY21 coal demand may be lower than previously estimated due to COVID-19: Pralhad Joshi
Coal demand in the current fiscal may be lower than the initial estimate of 1,085 million tonnes (MT) due to the impact of COVID-19, Parliament was informed on Monday.
Domestic supply of coal during the April-December period of the ongoing financial year stood at 489.89MT, Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi said in a reply in the Rajya Sabha.
“Initially demand of coal for current year i.e. 2020-21 was estimated at 1085 MT. However, due to COVID-19 effect actual demand of coal is likely to be less than estimated demand,” the minister said.
The demand of coal is higher than the current level of domestic supply of the fossil fuel, he added.
In FY’20, the actual demand of coal in the country was 955.26MT while the supply was 706.72MT, Joshi said.
The gap between demand and domestic supply of coal cannot be bridged completely as there is insufficient availability and reserves of prime coking coal in the country, the minister said.
Further, coal is imported by power plants designed on imported coal and high-grade coal required for blending purposes is also imported in the country as this cannot be fully substituted by the domestic sector which has limited reserves of high-grade coal.
The focus of the government is on increasing domestic production of the dry fuel through allocation of more coal blocks, pursuing with state government for assistance in land acquisition and coordinated efforts with Railways for movement of coal, he said.
In order to enhance domestic production, 25 percent of coal production has been allowed for sale in open market for newly allocated captive coal blocks.