Amid severe fuel shortages, the Coal Ministry has sought central assistance of Rs 544 crore to augment output in FY13 and said the three PSUs under its control have proposed investments worth Rs 14,683 crore to enhance production and make acquisitions overseas.
Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal sought Rs 544 crore gross budgetary support (GBS) for 2012-13 Plan allocation for six central schemes to augment production in pre-Budget consultations with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, a top Coal Ministry official told PTI.
"Raising the issue of coal shortage, Jaiswal also apprised Mukherjee that three PSUs -- Coal India, Neyveli Lignite and Singareni Collieries -- propose to invest Rs 9,182.78 crore for enhancing their production. Besides CIL has made a provision of Rs 5,500 crore for acquisitions abroad," he said.
While Coal India (CIL) has proposed to make a capital investment of Rs 4,275 crore on infrastructure in FY13, Neyveli Lignite has estimates its outgo at Rs 1,687 crore and Singareni Collieries envisages an expenditure of Rs 3,220 crore, it said.
On GBS, which is the amount of assistance provided by the Centre for Plan schemes, the official said the Coal Ministry sought the funds for implementation of six central schemes for coal exploration, development of transport infrastructure and research and development.
Meanwhile, as per a Coal Ministry document, out of the total GBS sought, it proposes to spend Rs 160 crore on detailed drilling, Rs 155 crore on conservation and safety of mines and Rs 102 crore on regional exploration.
The country is grappling with a severe coal crunch amid a widening demand-supply deficit which is pegged at 142 million tonnes (MT) this fiscal and is likely to increase to 200 MT by 2016-17.
CIL, the world's largest coal producer, which accounts for about 80% of domestic production, is battling to augment production amid regulatory and other hurdles.
The state-run PSU has fixed a revised production target of 440 MT for the current fiscal, down from the earlier projection of 452 MT.