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Some state-owned power producers, who had stopped imports, are now looking at importing coal at a time when the Centre’s focus is on reducing imports and eventually bringing it down to zero. They have been forced to take this move to tide over coal availability issues and the resulting dip in generation.
Power generation companies in Andhra Pradesh and Bengal have been the first movers. While the Andhra Pradesh government has already allowed Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation Ltd (APGENCO) to import one million tonnes of coal, West Bengal Power Development Corporation (WBPDCL) has asked for the state government’s permission to import a similar quantity.
Ajay Jain, secretary, energy, industries & infrastructure department, Andhra Pradesh, said: "The Centre had assured ample supply of coal and we had stopped imports. However, in recent times, there has been a crisis in terms of coal supply which has affected generation. We cannot afford to shed load in cities and urban areas, hence the decision to allow imports."
"APGENCO had asked for the state government’s permission to import one million tonnes of coal and it has been granted. They have already invited expression of interest. Exports are slated to start soon," said Jain.
Last time APGENCO imported coal was in April this year when it received only 40,000 tonnes. After this it did not receive any coal from overseas sources. Similarly, the West Bengal government has had verbal discussions with power generation officials over coal imports.
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