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Web Exclusive | May 2013

Govt to rope in firm for sampling imported coal

Unconfirmed reports indicate that the union government plans to invite bids from companies for monitoring quality of coal imported by domestic power plants.

It may be recalled that domestic power plants complain about the poor quality of coal being imported from abroad as it leads to rise in carbon emission and also less power production.

According to some reports, the government may invite bids from independent coal quality sampling firms by September, in which international verification companies such as SGS and Bureau Veritas are taking part.

The need for roping in a firm for this purpose arises as Coal India's Joint Sampling scheme with its consumers ended.

Poor quality coal reduces the efficiency of power stations, requiring more fuel and an increased need for the costly disposal of pollution. Last month, India's largest utility NTPC refused to pay for coal viewed as substandard, prompting Coal India to respond by suspending supplies and raising concerns of blackouts.

In the past five years, Indonesia, the world's biggest exporter of thermal coal, has been steadily raising export of low quality coal (known as sub-bituminous) especially to China and India.

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