India's power minister Piyush Goyal has urged Coal India, the world's largest producer of the fuel, to increase production at existing mines, reduce the amount offered in e-auctions and use produced material in power generation.
The move was aimed at addressing the country's electricity shortage, which climbed to 7,000MW in May.
Coal India produces 80% of the country's output of 562.6 million tonnes, but its production has been failing to meet targets and more imported coal has been required.
Goyal has asked the state-owned company to increase production by 50 million tonnes this year, by mining additional coal from existing mines in operation and requested environment ministry to allow such move.
Coal India is reportedly failing to meet output target due to environmental clearances, forcing many private power companies to either import coal or cut electricity generation.
Speaking in a meeting attended by the country's top private power producers and stakeholders, Goyal was quoted by Reuters as saying that the ministry has taken certain decisions in terms of requesting the environment ministry to allow additional mining for the coal mines that are already operational.
"We hope that a good amount of additional coal can be mined at least as an interim measure for a few years till we are able to sort out the problem which the sector has faced over the last five to six years," Goyal said.
According to Coal India, better connections will push its annual output up by up to 300 million tonnes from 462 million now.
For quality-related issues, Goyal said the ministry has asked Coal India to allow third-party inspection before loading of coal to all buyers of coal across the country.
"The third-party inspection of supplies of coal from the mines...is aimed at reducing complaints," Goyal added.