New Delhi: With the country continuing to grapple with coal shortages, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday asked the Coal Ministry to ensure increased production by CIL, a senior Cabinet Minister said.
The latest directive from the Prime Minister also comes a day after poor coal production, among other factors, was attributed for the dismal October industrial production number.
Output of eight core sector contracted 0.6 percent last month, with coal production slumping as much as 3.6 percent.
"The PM asked it (Coal Ministry) to make sure that coal production not only comes back to normal but also increases because the requirement of the country is huge," Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Minister Praful Patel told PTI here.
"Today we have so many power projects, whereas coal mines for one or the other reason has been cancelled or linkages have not been provided...So our entire power sector is facing constraints," Patel added.
During the meeting with the Prime Minister today, the coal issue, including production of fossil fuel, was discussed, he said.
"It was also discussed during the meeting as to why coal production is not being ramped up? Why sometimes despite of all our efforts the total production of coal declined," he said.
Meanwhile, the state-owned Coal India (CIL) today said that the production target of 482 million tonne (MT) for the current fiscal looks challenging in view of the shutdown of mining activities in Talcher Coalfields in Odisha, and Cyclone Phailin.
Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal during the review meeting last month had asked CIL to ensure that the output target for FY'14 is met.
CIL said yesterday that it has achieved output of 39.20 MT in November, missing its production target of 41.93 MT.
CIL, which accounts for over 80 percent of the domestic production, contributed 452.5 MT of coal in the previous financial year compared with the target of 464 MT.