India likely to continue coal imports till 2017: Govt

NEW DELHI: Government declared that India will continue import coal even till 2017 to meet scarcity. About 110.42 million tones of coal have been imported mainly from Australia, Indonesia, US and South Africa during April-January 2013.

State Minister for Coal Pratik Prakashbabu Patil said in a written reply to Rajya Sabha that the gap between demand and domestic production of coal will remain even by the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17) which will be met through imports.

Minister added that the country has produced in total 557.5 MT of coal during the last fiscal. It can be imported under open general license at current global prices by anybody who can pay the appropriate import duty. 

Planning Commission said last year that the country’s coal imports are supposed to touch enormous 185 MT by 2017 which is almost 20 percent of the international trade widening demand-supply deficit. 

Analyzing the coal imports to reach 185 MT against 137 MT by the end of 11th Five Year Plan (2007-12), the commission supposed an urgent need to take helpful steps to increase production of coal.