The Indian Railways has earned close to Rs 1,000 crore more by ferrying imported coal in 6 months to September 2021. According to official data, cumulative freight earnings from imported coal stood at Rs 4,598.88 crore during the period, up from Rs 3,682.32 crore till September 2020.
This was during the period when there was a perceived coal shortage in the country and power plants struggled to meet their requirements. The highest earnings from imported coal during the financial year were reported in April 2021 at Rs 840.28 crore, up from Rs 445.69 crore in April 2020.
Total imported coal loaded during the six-month period stood at 45.87 mt, up from 37.24 mt during the same period of the previous financial year.
This is expected to rise further with the power ministry’s directive to thermal power generators to import coal for at least 10 per cent blending, due to a shortage of domestic coal. This is a sharp reversal of its earlier directive of using domestic coal.