Operators are demanding removing restrictions on their handling of only one commodity like coal and their license should be converted to handle multiple commodities.
Regular importers of coal have stopped importing coal and decelerated evacuation of the already imported coal. This has affected the coal importing terminals operated by the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) under PPP model.
This has started to affect the financial viability of BOT operators as the volume of imports have got reduced and available storage yards are choked due to less evacuation.
BOT operators are currently limited to handling only coal which is classified as ‘Stressed Assets’ due to under-utilization of the installed capacities. The opening of the coal sector with commercial mining license for 50 new coal blocks will further increase India’s self-reliance and reduce imports.
The domestic coal sufficiency will certainly help India to conserve foreign currency but at the same time government needs to take note of the plight of sole coal handling terminals and use their latent potential to stimulate India’s export capacities.