The Aluminium Association of India (AAI) on Wednesday asked state-owned CIL to immediately resume coal supplies for the domestic aluminium industry stating that the current acute crunch of the dry fuel due to various factors has created a precarious situation. The statement comes at a time when various power plants in the country are grappling with fuel shortages.
In a letter to CIL Chairman Pramod Agrawal, the AAI said, “Despite untiring efforts of MoC (Ministry of Coal) and CIL (Coal India Ltd) to support the industry, the current acute coal crunch due to various factors…has created an immensely precarious situation, majorly for the highly power-intensive industries like aluminium, wherein coal accounts for 40 per cent of the production cost.”
The recent decision to stop secured coal supplies and rakes for non-power industries is detrimental for the aluminium industry, the letter said adding that it will jeopardise the sustainability as these continuous process-based plants are not designed for adhoc shutdown-and-start of operations. The entire industry has been brought to a standstill and left with no time to devise any mitigation plan to continue sustainable operations.
The coal stocks of operational plants have depleted to alarmingly low critical stocks of two-three days, from the level as high as 15 days in April. And, plants are forced to operate at reduced power generation with a huge risk of closure with the threat of loss of huge employment and deterioration of MSMEs. Moreover, the ongoing global aluminium shortage due to demand-supply mismatch is also adding to the woes for the industry.
“…to save the domestic industry, we earnestly request your kind intervention to normalise the precarious situation arisen due to stoppage of coal supplies and rakes through…immediate resumption of coal supply for aluminium industry CPPs (captive power plants) against secured linkages for economically viable and sustainable industry operations,” according to the letter to the CIL chairman. The letter further said the rakes allocation should be on priority for the highly power-intensive aluminium industry for optimum coal materialisation.