The matter came up during a recent meeting to review projects worth Rs 35,000 crore at a time when India is witnessing significant amount of coal imports.
"At a recent meeting to review coal projects costing more than Rs 500 crore and 3 million tonnes, Secretary Coal Sumanta Chaudhuri sought exception report from Coal India Ltd (CIL) and NLC India and asked them to identify reasons behind delay," a Coal Ministry official said.
An exception report is a document stating instances where actual performance deviated significantly from expectations.
The review meeting covered 51 projects of Coal India Ltd -- which accounts for over 80 per cent of the domestic dry-fuel production -- nine of NLCIL (formerly Neyveli Lignite Corporation) and two belonging to Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL)
Out of these, 21 projects are facing inordinate delays -- 17 by CIL and four by NLCIL, the official said.
Coal India's delayed projects include Magadh Expansion, Karo, North Urimari and Rajrappa RCE.
The delayed NLCIL projects include Pachwara South Coal Block, Talabira II and III Coal Block and Rajasthan Power Projects.
The delays come against the backdrop of coal demand from power sector exceeding the supply in 2018.
India has imported of over 200 million tonnes of coal annually in the recent years.
Earlier this month, Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said the country faces no shortage of coal and production has witnessed an increase of 7.4 per cent in April-December period of the ongoing fiscal.
He, however, also admitted that coal production did not go up in the past because of delays in environmental clearances, land acquisition and other problems.
Goyal said Coal India's production increased by 104 million tonnes (MT) in the last four years between 2014-15 and 2017-18.