New Delhi, Apr 5 (PTI) With an assessment suggesting the current trend may not warrant pursuing the projected coal output target of 1 billion tonnes by 2020, the government today gave indication of revising the production target of the dry fuel.

“We have hired KPMG for this study. The moment recommendations come we will see whether it (one billion production target) is needed by 2020. …it appears that much coal is not needed. Why should Coal India produce it?” Coal Secretary Susheel Kumar told reporters here.

The government had earlier set a target of 1 billion tonnes of coal output by FY2019-20 for Coal India (CIL).

“So we will have to see when the country needs that much (of coal) …when Coal India needs to produce that much and that will be the year in which this (production target) will be re calibrated,” the secretary stressed.

CIL accounts for over 80 per cent of domestic coal production.

On when the recalibration can be expected, Kumar said, “We will let you know by the end of this month how much is production of Coal India for 2020, which was earlier one billion (tonnes) and when it will be one billion (tonnes). So that will be somewhere between 2020 and 2030. We will let you know.” However, the government had in December last year said that of 1.5 billion tonnes the country is expected to produce by 2022 and of this, 1 billion tonnes would come from Coal India.

When asked whether the government is considering revising the target of 1 billion tonnes of fuel output by PSU, Coal India Chairman Gopal Singh said, “We had engaged one consultant to work out the exact volume of coal what Coal India is required to produce.

“So they have made the presentation today before all the customers and stakeholders. They have taken the feedback …will just take few days to compile and come out with final numbers.” Coal Minister Piyush Goyal said there are plans to put out the list of available coal blocks in the public domain and then depending on the interest, the blocks can be auctioned.

This idea comes at a time when there have been occasions where coal block auctions did not attract enough demand.

“…just a thought came to me…that we put out all the blocks that are available (in the public domain) and people who are interested will register (for those) they are interested in. We will get to know how many people are interested and if we see that there is an interest in a particular block we will auction.”

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.