In the wake of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s direction to Coal India Ltd (CIL) to import coal to ensure supplies for 20 years to the power sector, the state-run coal major today clarified today that it is not in the business of imports.
When asked about whether to meet the demands from the power sector, it would import coal, the firm’s acting chairman and managing director Zohra Chatterji said, “We are not in the business of imports and have not yet recieved any direction from the coal ministry. Once the direction comes, we will look into other factors. We had tried to import several times earlier also, but it did not work out, imports is not our USP”
Early this week, the PMO had said in a statement that to ensure supply for 20 years to power plants of 50,000 mega watt that would be commissioned by March 2015, the Kolkata-based firm can import coal. The decision was taken after a delegation of power majors led by Ratan Tata and Anil Ambani met the Prime Minister seeking relief on this front.
The statement said that the coal major would be penalised if it fail to meet the supply trigger of 80 per cent. Chatterji said, “We have to abide to the government rules, if such a directive comes.” Meanwhile, the firm is confident enough to meet the rising demands from the power sector. “Offtake is going to increase. The availability of rakes have touched an all-time high of 197 now. It is expected to touch 205 by March,” Chatterji said.
To invest Rs 6,000 crore on railway lines
The state-run coal major which is sitting on a cash reserve of about RS 55,000 crone will now invest on infrastructural projects based on direction by the Centre. In the next four to five years, CIL is planning to invest about Rs 6,000 crore in developing railway lines across three states.
When asked about the plan to buy shares in other public sector undertakings, “Since we have a enough cash reserve, the Centre has asked us to invest in infrastructural projects. We will be developing railway lines across three states — Jharkhand, Orissa and Chhattisgarh — in the next four to five years. This will see an investment of more than Rs 6,000 crore,” said AK Sinha, director (finance) of CIL.