Kolkata, Nov 2: Coal Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday said Coal India's production target of 600 million tonnes for the current fiscal would "not be a difficult" task and also hoped the miner would meet the one billion production target by 2019-20.
"The 600 million tonnes production target for the current fiscal is not impossible and will not be difficult for the miner. I have confidence that it would meet the one billion target by 2019-20," he said here in his address at the Award Ceremony on Coal India's 43rd Foundation Day.
In view of the rapid progress of renewable energy in the country along with falling prices of alternative power, he urged it to "improve operating efficiency and productivity" so that it could provide the fuel at cheaper price.
The minister also said the Maharatna company achieved a 92 million tonnes of growth in production in the last three years and its subsidiaries had to regulate the production during February 2016 to July 2017 to deal with the problem of muted demand.
However, Coal Secretary Susheel Kumar, who was also present, said: "The way demand has picked this year, it seems the miner will need to produce one billion by 2019-20."
Coal India Chairman Gopal Singh also said the company is "pushing hard" to meet the 600 mt production target for the fiscal 2017-18 and the one billion tonne production mark for 2019-20.
According to provisional figure, Coal India produced 231.87 million tonnes (mt) during April to September period of the current fiscal agsint the half yearly production target of 243.30 mt.
It reported its off-take grew by 8 per cent in the April-September period to 269.02 mt and the company achieved 96 per cent of its off-take target of 279.66 mt for the half yearly period of the current fiscal.
According to Singh, currently 73 per cent of the power generation of the country is coal based. The large planned new coal based thermal capacity is likely to put pressure on coal resources. Coal based power generation capacity of 125 GW in 2012 is likely to go up to more than 330-441 GW by 2040 (192 GW in FY 2017). The demand for these plants is likely to be first met by domestic coal, which will require quick exploitation of our reserves.