India May Import Coal From Russia At Discount

Story Highlights
  • India to get coal at negotiated rates from largest coal producing nations.
  • Depleted stocks can lead to larger power crisis.
  • Power plants burn around 2 million tons of coal daily

New Delhi: The government may shortly initiate negotiations with Russia, Australia, Indonesia and South Africa to help state-run Coal India Ltd import coal at a discounted rate as an emergency measure to avoid a fuel shortage for the country’s strained power plants and create buffer stocks, two government officials aware of the plan said.

India opted for the government-to-government import route as domestic supplies will not be able to meet the requirements of daily fuelling of power plants and to build sufficient stocks for the June-to-September monsoon season when mining and coal off-take slows down because of heavy rains or flooding.

The government-to-government negotiations will be spearheaded by the external affairs ministry, and will involve the ministries of finance, coal and power, and state-run Coal India.

The imports by India, which has the world’s fourth-largest coal reserves, come amid blackouts due to a surge in electricity demand that got exacerbated by an intense heatwave. India’s power plants burn around 2 million tonnes (mt) of coal daily to generate electricity.

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