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Loading of coal increased by 18.7 per cent during April-May to 431.5 rakes, Railway and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said here on Wednesday.
Addressing a conference, he said: "Currently, April-May coal loading has increased by 18.7 per cent. Loading has increased from 363 rakes earlier to about 431.5 rakes in April-May 2018." In financial year 2017-18, there was the highest-ever transportation of coal in India, the minister said.
"In terms of coal transportation, there have been significant achievements in the last year, where we saw highest ever coal movement in the history moving up from 533 million tonnes in 2016-17 to 555 million tonnes in 2017-18," he said. On the demand for coal, he said: "Power industry is having robust demand largely because there is a growing economic activity."
"There is shortfall in nuclear and hydro and there is a significant drop in irrigation in coastal plants, which were based on imported coal which were in some difficulty due ot the judgment of the SC (Supreme Court), nearly 5,300 MW of capacity which were earlier importing coal and supplying power to five states is now shut down."
The load has come on the "domestic coal roughly increasing demand of 20-22 million tonnes because of the less imports and less import based generation", he said. He also said that import of power from Bhutan also has declined around 53 per cent, which also has increased the pressure on the domestic coal industry.
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