The world's largest miner Coal India (CIL) suffered production losses to the tune of 116 million tonnes (MT) on account of delays in execution of new projects, government auditor CAG on Friday said.
Delays ranging from "one to 12 years" in execution of 32 projects under different subsidiaries of CIL entailed "loss of production by 115.95 MT," Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) said in its report on "Allocation of Coal Blocks and Augmentation of Coal Production" tabled in Parliament on Friday.
The delays, it said, pertained to "problems of land acquisition, forest clearance, adverse geo-mining condition, tender finalisation for equipment of and construction of Coal Handling Plant (CHP) and railway siding," it said.
CAG observed that delays took place despite an expert committee emphasising way back in 2005 the need for setting up of a permanent special task force to monitor progress of clearances and project implementation of schemes to be completed by the end of XIth Five Year Plan (2007-12).
"In order to bridge the demand-supply gap of coal, new coal projects are required to be completed in a time bound manner," it said.
However, the Coal Ministry stated in January, 2012 that "response from Ministry of Environment and Forest is awaited."
Noting that CIL could not match with the rate of increase in coal production due to delays in execution of augmentation of projects on account of "lack of coordinated and planned approach by various government agencies involved in statutory clearances and land execution," CAG asked CIL to fix output targets in line with the targets by the Planning Commission.
State-run Coal India is the largest domestic producer of dry-fuel and accounts for over 80 per cent of the total domestic production.