The government has contradicted its own official data on coal exports from the country over the past few years. Business Standard had first
reported on 6 July that domestic availability of the fuel having gone from bad to worse has not been a deterrent as the government has
exported more than 20 Million Tonne (MT) coal out of the country over the past decade.
The report, based on Provisional Coal Statistics data, had mentioned that in 2010-11 alone, 4.4 MT coal was exported from 14 ports. Coal
exports stood at 2.4 MT in 2009-10 and 1.6 MT in 2008-09. Responding to a question asked in Parliament on the matter on 27 August, Minister of State for Coal Pratik Prakashbapu Patil had said that India exported 3 MT coal in 2008-09, 2.5 MT in 2009-10 and 2.6 MT in 2010-11.
Notably, the figures shared by the minister were lower as provided by the provisional statistics published by the Kolkata-based Coal
Controllers’ Organization, an arm of the coal ministry.
Business Standard had also reported that China and Japan were among the nations that received the huge shipments of coal from India. Government officials, when contacted, had expressed surprise at the huge export figures and the list of destination nations receiving Indian coal. The officials were aware only of minor quantities of coal exports occurring from Meghalaya to neighboring nations including Bangladesh and Nepal.
Also, a senior official from the Coal Controllers’ Organization had refused to comment saying the coal export data was sourced from the
Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence & Statistics (DGCI&S) under the commerce ministry.
Meanwhile, India’s total imports of coal jumped from 20 MT in 2002-03 to 90 MT in 2011-12 at the back of domestic constraints in production.