New Delhi: India's coal demand will go up to 1,000 million tonnes (MT) by the end of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2012-17), necessitating about 200 MT of imports to bridge the shortfall in domestic output, a senior Planning Commission official said on Wednesday.

The production shortfall in the current fiscal, the final year of the 11th Five-Year Plan (2007-12), is projected at 142 MT, with domestic output likely to amount to 554 MT.

"Projected coal demand is to the extent of 900 to 1,000 MT by the end of the 12th Plan. Domestic production will be about 770 MT or so. So we still face a shortfall of about 200 MT," Planning Commission Senior Advisor (Power) Arbind Prasad said on the sidelines of a conference on 'Coal Distribution and Transport Logistics' here.

Prasad said unless the widening demand-supply gap for coal was bridged, the projected shortfall of 200 MT would have to be met through imports.

"Most likely, this shortfall will be met through imports, if the international markets remain favourable," he said.

He said the commission has estimated domestic production at 770 MT by 2017 on the basis of projected annual growth of around 7 per cent in output.

 "The domestic production by the end of this plan would be 554 million tonnes. This is what our projection is," he said.

As per a Planning Commission document, output in 2011-12 was expected to reach 680 MT, but the estimate was later scaled down to 630 MT in a mid-term appraisal by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. It has now been revised downward even further to 554 MT.

The commission has noted that demand for coal rose by about 8 per cent a year during the 11th Plan and may rise by the same percentage during the next Five-Year Plan.

The commission has also observed that uncertainties in coal supply were affecting power generation.

"Coal India is not entering into Fuel Supply Agreements for more than 50 per cent of the requirement of thermal plants and that too, only for five years," it had said.

Coal India is the world's largest producer of coal and accounts for over 85 per cent of domestic production of the dry fuel.

In the last fiscal, it produced about 431 MT of coal, almost the same output it recorded in 2009-10.

(Agencies)