False Promises? TATA, Indian Govt Defer Vows Of Importing Russian Coal

Photo by Bart van Dijk on Unsplash

While the world is giving the cold shoulder to Russia almost four months into its Ukraine invasion, Indians are making way to import coal from the country. Both the Indian government and India’s top steelmaker Tata Steel have eyes on the Soviet’s carbon.

Stealthy Steeling

Back in Q1, TATA Steel pointed to the “uncertainties” over the supply of Russian coal owing to the Russia-Ukraine war. The steel giant also stated that all its manufacturing sites in India, the UK, and the Netherlands had sourced alternative supplies of raw materials to end its dependence on Russia.

But Indian coal traders had stepped up purchases before the war since rival shipments of Australian coal were burning a hole in their pockets.

Fast forward to the second half of May, TATA did not keep its word of taking “a conscious decision to stop doing business with Russia.” The Mumbai-based company ended up importing 75,000 tonnes of coal into the country only weeks after pledging to stop doing business with Russia.

Power Boost

The Indian government, too, is in talks to import Russian coal at a discounted rate to help state-run Coal India Ltd. The move is an attempt to avoid a fuel shortage for the country’s strained power plants and create buffer stocks.

Discussions with Australia, Indonesia, and South Africa are also underway to fuel power plants with coal imports.

Makes us think, how ‘power-intensive’ are we, as a nation? Earlier this month, Nepal started exporting its surplus electricity to India on account of experiencing abundant rainfall this monsoon.

Cheap coal supplies are becoming extremely crucial to Indian steelmakers. And why not? They’ve got to reel back from the heavy export duties that were imposed by the government last month to curb local inflation. Is it really the fault of steelmakers?

Too long? Here’s a one-liner: TATA Steel imports 75,000 tonnes of coal despite vowing not to do business with Russia last quarter; the Indian government follows suit.




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