During 2015-2016, the power utility had initially planned for coal imports of 21 million tons, which over the course of the year was reduced to 16 million tons, but actual shipments were far lower at 10 million tons, in response to higher dispatches from CIL, the official said. While a halt in imports has been declared for the current fiscal, it was a distinct possibility that the same would be extended for the next few years as captive coal blocks allocated to NTPC were progressively brought into production over the next few years, the official said. For one, the captive coal block of Pakri Barwadhi in eastern province of Jharkhand had already been handed over to mine developer operator (MDO), Thriveni-Sainik, and was scheduled for commercial production by the end of 2016. The block was expected to provide assured supplies of 15 million tpy for thermal power plants of NTPC. The latter was also in the process of appointing a MDO for the Kerandari coal block also in Jharkhand province. This coal block scheduled for be brought into production over the next two years would offer an additional coal supply of about 6 million tpy to the power utility.

It was pointed out that another trigger point for calling a halt to imports was CIL’s decision to offer higher volumes for sales through e-auction during the period August 2016-March 2017, including forward auction to enable large coal consumers to plan their feedstock requirements and sourcing over a longer period. CIL has already committed to offer 79 million tons of coal during the period for both power and non-power consumers. Of the total offering, 63 million tons had been earmarked for power sector consumers through special forward e-auction and 19 million tons to non-power sector through e-auctions.