Guwahati, Dec 22: Faced with shortage of coal to run tea manufacturing factories, the tea industry has appealed to the Government of Assam to nominate State Agencies, for allocation /allotment of coal to the Industry by the Coal India Limited (CIL).
Informing about the shortage of coal, Tea Association of India (TAI) today explained the problem in detail in a communique issued by it.
Ever since the issue linked to the shortage of coal was brought to the notice of the Association in the month of July this year, it immediately approached the Ministry, Industry of Commerce and Industry, Government of Assam to assist the Industry in meeting up with this shortage of coal, arising primarily due to issue related to Coal Mining and Forest Sector.
The Government of Assam acted with alacrity and assured that it would allocate 38,000 MT coal to the tea sector advised the Association to disseminate the information to its members.
The Tea Industry in North East India (Assam + North Bengal) manufactures 1171 kgs of tea, out of which 340 (approx) kgs of tea is manufactured in the upper Assam region. This section of the Industry has natural gas available to be used as a stock for manufacturing Tea. The remaining part of the Tea Industry situated both in Assam as well as West Bengal are dependent on coal, as the Industry find coal to be cost be effective vis-a-vis LPG. The present State of the Industry, cost effectiveness is of paramount importance, since on this hinges the operational viability of the garden.
The Association thereafter flagged this matter before the Union Commerce and Industry Minister, Government of India, detailing the required stages at which usage of coal is required by the Industry.
The above matter was brought to the notice of the Ministry of Coal and Mines, Government of India through a letter dated 20.10.21, requesting for release for coal for Tea Industry.
Pralhad Joshi, Minister, Coal and Mines, Government of India vide his letter Nok.23025/33/2021-CPD dated 18th November, 2021, listed the following means/ options by which the Tea Industry coal consumers may procure coal. a) Linkage Auction which provisions committed long term supply of coal. b) Different modes of auction viz. Spot/Special Spot of Exclusive auction mechanisms, Exclusive e-auction mechanism caters to industries only. c) From State Nominated Agencies which are allocated/allotted coal by CIL It is gathered that Coal Supply is open for everyone from 2008 as the Government of India has postulated that Supplies will be connected with Coal India Limited through Auction Bidding system in general format.
Coal Suppliers can purchase coal through Spot E-Auction Scheme (Not more than 10% of coal produced by Coal India in a year is marked for E-Auction).
Out of the above mentioned alternatives outlined by the Minister of Coal and Minster in his letter dated 18.11.21, Tea Industry would be benefited if the coal supply can be noted through to State nominated agencies. At present coal is currently procured by Tea Industry through coal Suppliers located in different part of North East India.
The shortage of Coal is ascribed to logistical reasons as the Minister of Coal have assured that there is ample coal available in the Country. Most of the Tea Estates source coal through Suppliers who in turn procure through E-Auction which is not more than 10% of coal produced by Coal India in a year.
Therefore, receiving of coal through State nominated agencies through linkage would ensure the Tea Industry of a binding source to the end user i.e. the Tea Industry Sector. The Association appeals to the Government of Assam to nominate State Agencies, for allocation /allotment of coal to the Industry by the Coal India Limited. This would obviate such eventualities for the future as is still being faced by the Industry.