Reeling from a severe coal crisis, secondary steel makers in Chhattisgarh are looking to enhance supply from the mines in the state. The mineral-rich state contributes about 20 per cent to the country’s secondary steel output.
“The annual requirement of coal for steel industries, including captive power plants in Chhattisgarh, is around 20-22 million tonnes (MT). But we are getting hardly 25 per cent of the demand,” said Anil Nachrani, member of the steel ministry’s advisory committee for secondary steel industry and president of Chhattisgarh Sponge Iron Manufacturers Association.
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has come out in support of the industry and has written to Union Minister Pralhad Joshi to address the issue. “You will agree that it would be a very unfortunate decision for the state to not be able to supply coal to its small-scale industries,” Baghel said in his letter.
He said South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL) had decided to stop the coal supply to Chhattisgarh-based steel units and other industries (except power sector) from August. Baghel urged Joshi to direct SECL officers to continue the supply of coal. SECL spokesperson did not respond to the company’s version on the issue.
Meanwhile, state-owned CIL said that it produced 47.3 million tonnes (MT) of coal last month, registering a growth of 11 per cent from the year-ago period. The public sector enterprise produced 207.1 MT of coal in the first four months of the ongoing fiscal, registering a growth of 24.3 per cent over 166.6 MT in the year-ago period.
In the wake of a surge in demand from the power sector, CIL supplied 199.4 MT of coal to this sector in the April-July period of the current fiscal, 19.2 per cent more than 167.3 MT supplied in the year-ago period. The supply of dry fuel to coal-fired plants during April-July period was at par with the projected increased requirement, it said. Coal supply to power plants by CIL went up by 19 per cent to 47 MT during the last month.