Coal India Ltd, the world's largest producer of the fuel, will lose nearly 5 million tonnes (mt) in production in the remaining period of this fiscal, due to a recent environmental restriction on expansion of industrial activity in the coal-rich districts of Jharsuguda in Odisha and Singrauli in Madhya Pradesh. Overall, mining projects with a capacity to produce 17 mt a year are affected.
Jharsuguda has a number of large thermal power plants and ferrous and non-ferrous industries in both public and private sectors. Singrauli is the hub of pit head power projects, including the super thermal projects of NTPC, Reliance Power's Sasan UMPP and Essar Power's Mahan project.
A pit-head plant is a thermal plant at the coalmine itself, while a UMPP, or ultra mega power project, is referred to as a project with a capacity to generate around 4,000MW of power.
"The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has imposed a ban on the expansion of industrial activity in both regions as the comprehensive environmental pollution index has hit the danger mark. Since coal production comes through expansion of mine, nearly 17 mt of production scheduled for the next one year is impacted. The production for the fiscal is estimated at 5 mt," N. Kumar, Director (Technical) of CIL, told reporters on Friday, on the sidelines of the company's Foundation Day celebration.
The restrictions have come on the back of a 6-mt production loss in October due to cyclone Phailin in Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
The state-run miner reported a 3.5 per cent production growth at 235 mt for the April-October period this year. Against an annual target to step up production by 30 mt, or 6.6 per cent, CIL has so far produced 8 mt more coal compared with the corresponding period last year.
Earlier, addressing the programme, CIL Chairman S. Narsing Rao said the country must get its act together to ensure growth in coal production. "Coal production needs a collective effort right from the district level administration to railways and the CIL management," he emphasised.
C. Rangarajan, Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, said a "workable compromise" needs to be found to ensure growth vis-à-vis rising public awareness regarding pollution and environmental degradation.
Rangarajan identified displacement and resettlement and lack of railway infrastructure as "reasons for the stagnation in coal production" even as he stressed that CIL should improve upon its operational efficiency.
Source - hindu