"In the 12th Plan projections, the gap between demand and domestic supply in 2016-17 is estimated to be in the range of 185-265 million tonne," he said.

Imports touched 168.4 MT last fiscal from 29 MT a few years back, he said.

"In order to minimise import deficiency, the focus of the government is on facilitating environment and forest clearances expeditiously, pursuing with state government for assistance in land acquisition and coordinated efforts with railway for movement of coal," Goyal informed the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.
With domestic demand for coal higher than the supply, the increasing trend in import is expected to continue in 2015-16, he said, adding that the imports had risen to 168.44 MT in 2013-14 from a 28.95 MT in 2005-06.

He said the demand for coal in 2013-14 stood at 770 MT but domestic availability was barely 566 MT.

"In order to bring in better technology through private investment the development of some of coal blocks assigned to CIL is envisaged to be done by engaging Mine Development & Operator (MDO)," Goyal said.

Besides, he added, a smooth auction process has been ensured for the coal blocks that had been cancelled by the Supreme Court.

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