The drop in imports can be attributed to "unprecedented increase in coal production by CIL", he added. Swarup had earlier said in a tweet that coal imports in November dropped to 11.6 million tonnes (MT) against 22.6 MT in the same month of last year.

"Consequent to a record production by Coal India, import of coal comes down for fifth successive month. Down by 8.9 pc during April-November," Swarup tweeted. "Coal imports come down from 136.6 million tonnes in April-November (2014) to 119.9 (MT) in 2015. In value terms, down from Rs 68,822 cr to Rs 54,607 cr," he said in another tweet.

CIL's production increased by 8.8 per cent during the April-November period of the current fiscal 2015-16 on a year-on-year basis. Production was up by almost 26 MT during April-November 2015 compared to the same period previous fiscal, a company official said.

CIL produced 321.38 MT of coal during April-November, 2015-16 as against 295.40 MT in the year ago period. The state-owned firm, which accounts for over 80 per cent of the domestic coal production, is eying to 1 billion tonnes production by 2020.

Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal had said last month that coal shortages will be a thing of the past and India will not need to import dry fuel by 2017, except to meet requirements of power plants located near coastal areas. India had imported 212.103 million tonnes of coal worth over Rs 1 lakh crore last fiscal.

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