Coal India must keep fuel price low for cheaper power: Secretary

Kolkata, June 25 (IANS) The government wants state miner Coal India Ltd. (CIL) to keep prices of the fuel low for cheaper power tariffs, Coal Secretary Anil Swarup said on Thursday.

“The government of India owns majority of shares in Coal India. In the board, we convey concerns of the government to keep power tariff down. They will have to keep the price of coal down,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an event here organised by Bharat Chamber of Commerce.

“Coal India has a purpose to serve. If Coal India were allowed to fix their own price for profitability, then they will fix the price 10 percent below that of imported landed coal,” he said.

CIL accounts for around 82 percent of the country’s coal production.

The government on Tuesday commenced the process of industry-stakeholder consultations towards preparing a roadmap for commercial mining of coal, when it said it is looking at involving states in.

“We are working parallely in terms of seeing whether the states could be given blocks for commercial mining. We are working towards enabling states to do commercial mining so as to fulfil the requirement of small scale sectors,” Swarup told reporters on the sidelines of a workshop in the national capital, organised jointly by the coal ministry and FICCI, where he released the industry chamber’s approach paper on the issue.

Stressing that there is need to formulate a realistic policy for the success of commercial coal mining in the country, he, however, maintained that Coal India will continue to play a very prominent role to supply fuel at affordable prices so that power tariffs do not go up.

The ordinance promulgated by the government for auctioning the 204 coal blocks cancelled by the Supreme Court last year contained the provision to allow commercial mining by private companies.

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