Indian coal imports by power producers increased 31% to 66 million t in April-January, compared with the same period the year before, according to the India power ministry.
Reuters reported that this increase was largely due to a continued rise in coal-fired power generation, combined with an ongoing domestic coal shortage. Electricity companies have been forced to import large amounts of coal, as state-run Coal India has struggled to meet the increased demand.
In April-January power producers imported 31 million t of coal to blend with lower quality varieties, as well as approximately 35 million t for plants that depend exclusively on imported coal, according to power minister Jyotiraditya Scindia.
India's coal-based power generation rose 8% to 587.64 billion kilowatt hour during the period from a year earlier. Scindia added that power companies are likely to import 82 million t for the fiscal year 2013-14.
This is the first government data released on coal imports so far this fiscal year, Reuters reported.
Edited from various sources by Katie Woodward