NEW DELHI, March 18 (Reuters) - State-run miner Coal India Limited has supplied 309.70 million tonnes of coal to state power utilities during this fiscal year up to February, the junior coal minister said on Monday, putting it just 9 percent below its full-year target.
In the 2011/12 fiscal year, the world's biggest coal miner supplied 312 million tonnes of coal to power utilities, achieving 95 percent of its target.
Total coal demand from power utilities for the 2012/13 fiscal year that ends on March 31 is estimated at 512 million tonnes, Pratik PrakashBapu Patil said in a written reply to the upper house of parliament, citing provisional figures.
Coal India accounts for about 80 percent of the total coal output in India. The bulk of the supply shortfall is met through imports.
Coal production has failed to keep pace with capacity growth in the power sector in India, where energy output falls far short of the demands of a fast-growing economy, Asia's third largest, and an increasingly affluent population.
Last August, India faced one of the world's worst-ever blackouts, when three of its five transmission grids collapsed, cutting power to states which are home to some 670 million people, more than half of the country's population.
More than 50 percent of power generated in India is through burning coal. The country has an installed power capacity of nearly 211,000 megawatts. (Reporting by Malini Menon; editing by Jo Winterbottom and James Jukwey)