New Delhi: State-run Coal India on Friday blamed adverse weather for its inability to meet production targets in the first half of the 2011-12 financial year, with output falling short of the mark by about 20 million tonnes.

The company could produce only about 176 MT of coal in the April-September, 2011, period, as against the target of 196 MT, due to heavy rains in mining areas.

"Because of heavy rainfall in the month of August and September, the company could not achieve its production target," Coal India Ltd (CIL) Chairman N C Jha said.

However, he exuded confidence that the company will meet its 452 MT production target for the entire financial year despite adverse factors like delays in the grant of environmental clearance to its projects.

Earlier, CIL had blamed early rains and inclement weather in the eastern region for its inability to achieve the 98.7 million tonnes (MT) target for the first quarter of the current fiscal as well.

The public sector firm had missed its April-June target by 2.4 MT.

The Planning Commission has asked the Coal Ministry to chalk out an action plan to ensure that CIL meets its production target for the current financial year.

"Negative growth (in output) of Coal India is a matter of grave concern. It is requested a quick review may be undertaken at the ministry level and a plan of action worked out to realise the overall production target in the remaining period of the year," the Planning Commission had said in a letter to the Coal Ministry.

CIL accounts for 80 per cent of domestic coal production in the country. It had registered a decline of about 2.6 per cent in production to 152.4 MT in April-August, 2011, vis-a-vis the corresponding period of the previous fiscal. It produced 156.6 MT of coal in the first five months last fiscal.

The letter further said, "We are aware of the difficulties in enhancing the production level due to environmental concerns, but with relaxation of CEPI norms imposed earlier, CIL should be able to increase its production level."

The Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI) captures various health dimensions of the environment and acts as a warning tool to facilitate early intervention by the government. In 2009, the Environment Ministry had introduced CEPI to ascertain environmental quality at specific locations and conducted a nation-wide assessment of industrial clusters.

CIL missed its production target last fiscal, recording an output of 431 MT, as against the revised target of 440 MT.

(Agencies)