"Coal imports will continue to come down with increased availability of coal (domestic)," Coal Secretary Anil Swarup told reporters here on the sidelines of an event here. The data of the first two months of this fiscal, he said, indicate the reduction in the import of coal.
    
"Quantities I cannot predict how much will come down. I have no doubts that coal imports will come down. Last fiscal, we saved Rs 24,000 crore and we are aiming Rs 40,000 crore of saving this year (2016-17)," Swarup said.
    
The coal secretary further said the demand of coal in the country is not growing at the pace it was envisaged and expressed hope that with Uday scheme will help boost the demand for the dry fuel in the days to come.
    
"We will continue to produce....We are not revising the (coal production) target," he stressed.
    
The secretary further said there has been encouraging response with regard to the ongoing auction of coal linkages for the non-regulated sector, including sponge iron.
     
When asked about Coal India's plans for acquiring coal mines overseas, the secretary said, "The ground work has been done in South Africa. Now final discussions are on."
     
Coal import declined by 19.2 percent 16.38 million tonnes (MT) last month on the back of sufficient availability of domestic fuel.
     
Imports in May last year stood at 20.29 million tonnes, according to mjunction services, an online procurement and sales platform jointly floated by SAIL and Tata Steel. Country's coal imports fell by 15 percent to 15.9 MT in April this year.
     
In 2015-16, Coal India (CIL) which accounts for over 80 percent of domestic output, achieved a record production of 536 MT, which was 42 MT more than the previous fiscal.
     
Its production grew 8.5 percent year-on-year. CIL was, however, eyeing 550 MT output. CIL's output is fixed at 598 MT for this fiscal.

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