Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal informed Lok Sabha that coal production has significantly increased in the last few months.

Replying to questions, he said government was working on an arrangement under which coal blocks will supply fuel to the nearest power plants, under a swapping arrangement to rationalise coal linkages.

He explained that since coal blocks mostly have arrangements with power plants located far off, it leads to heavy expenses on carriage. This will be addressed through the swapping arrangements between coal blocks.

Citing an example, he said recently NTPC and Gujarat State Electricity Corp entered into a pact for swapping one million tonnes of coal, which is expected to save over Rs 300 crore for the state government.

This experiment will then be expanded to other states, he said, adding it will help save Rs 6,000 crore and benefit consumers.

Separately, he said that as many as 11 public sector banks have more than Rs 51,000 crore worth exposure to various coal linkages.

Quoting information received from the Department of Financial Services, Goyal said, "11 banks have exposure to the tune of Rs 51,203.96 crore against coal linkages, 10 banks have no exposure, whereas six banks have not given information."

The minister was replying to a query on whether public sector banks grant credit against coal linkages and their details.

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