New Delhi: In view of growing demand-supply mismatch, government is reviewing the current coal distribution policy to ensure that priority sectors get adequate fuel.

Replying to a question on whether power companies are facing shortage of coal, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said in the Lok Sabha that coal production has not increased in line with the demand.

There are various reasons for this, he said, adding that coal producing states are facing different problems like law and order and naxalism.

The government has been providing linkages to coal blocks for development of power projects.

State owned Coal India Limited (CIL) has not been able to meet the demand and has requested the ministry to review the coal distribution policy, Jaiswal said, adding, "We are looking into it."
He, however, said that CIL has been dispatching coal as per targets fixed in the supply plan finalised as part of the annual plan. During the last three years, dispatches to power utilities have been 102 per cent, 96 per cent and 91 per cent of the targets respectively.

In the current year up to June 2011, dispatch is 94 per cent of the target.

"Dispatches could have been better but for the frequent law and order problems... constraints of wagon availability in comparison to indents in certain coal fields in the 3rd and 4th quarter of the previous year," he said. Jaiswal, however, said that there was no shortage of coal at the power stations. The coal stock with power stations has increased from 11.63 million tonnes in July 2010 to 13.415 million tonnes in July 2011.

Coal is under Open General License (OGL) and the power utilities import coal themselves to meet their requirements, he said.

(Agencies)