"Imports of all types of coal during the period (first half of 2014-15) stood at 110.15 million tonnes (MT) as against 92.98 MT imported during the corresponding period of 2013-14," according to compilation of data from 31 ports including 12 state-owned major ports in the country.

While average imports during the period rose 18.47 percent, imports of steam coal surged 20.69 percent to 87.09 MT during the first six months of 2014-15 from 72.16 MT recorded in the corresponding period of 2013-14.

Imports of petroleum coke, on the other hand, surged 72.22 percent to 2.17 MT from 1.26 MT in the first half of 2013-14, the compilation revealed.

"Imports of coking coal increased by 7.13 percent to 18.32 MT from 17.10 MT in the first half of 2013-14 whereas imports of anthracite coal and pulverised coal injection (PCI) rose marginally by 1.57 percent and 5.26 percent respectively," it said.

Imports of metallurgical coke fell by 9.16 percent to 1.19 MT from 1.31 MT last year in the review period.

In September 2014, imports of all types of coal stood at 16.04 MT, which was 19.26 percent higher compared to 13.45 MT imported in September 2013, but down marginally from 16.12 MT imported in August 2014.

As per the latest data by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), 56 coal-based power plants reported critical fuel stocks of less than seven days.

Of the 56 stations facing coal shortages, 33 had less than four days of stockpiles. These 33 stations include 10 power stations run by country's leading thermal power producer NTPC.

Power and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal had earlier said that the coal materialisation to the power sector was 87 percent during the first quarter of the current financial year (April to June).

The minister had said that shortage of supplies was on account of less supply of wagons and transportation constraints.

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