Q. 134.6( 5 Votes )

Why is coal called the most important source of energy even today in India? Explain with reasons.

Answer :

Coal is a solid black mineral made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen in varying proportions. it is a type of fossil fuel where trapped solar energy in dead and decaying plant matter has been compressed over a period of time to give its current form.


Coal is the most important source of energy today in India. Its importance can be seen by the extent of its use in various aspects of the development of the country.


a) Power generation – It is the most important source of commercial energy in India. The thermal power which accounts for four-fifth of the country’s power generation is mostly coal-based. Development of power generation is key to industrial development. Some of the big coal-based thermal stations include Farakka (West Bengal), Singrauli and Dadri (Uttar Pradesh), Korba (Madhya Pradesh) and Ramagundam (Andhra Pradesh).


b) Iron and steel Industry –Presence of Coking and high-grade non-coking coal – an essential raw material for steel determines the location of the iron and steel industry. These types of coal are predominantly found in the eastern part of India which explains the concentration of said industries in this region.


c) Cement Industry – Coal is one of the primary raw materials for cement manufacturing and is also used as a source of power in the form of electricity. Cement is a necessary material for a developing country like India which is undergoing rapid urbanization.


d) By-products of coal and their industrial uses – Coal is a source of a number of raw materials for chemical industries. The major by-products like tar, coal gas, benzole are used in a variety of industries like plastics, organic chemicals, fertilizers and pharmaceutical industries. India has a shortage of petroleum which has resulted in the growth of coal use in chemical industries.


e) Transport fuel – Though this was in the past, yet India faced rapid development with the introduction of railways which heavily depended on coal for fuelling the steam-powered engines. Even though it is not relevant today, the development of the Indian economy as a whole was based on coal power.


Thus, from the above discussion, it is evident that coal despite having negative impacts on the environment is essential for the development and sustenance of the Indian economy. This trend will continue until alternative forms of cheaper, sustainable power is made available to the industries and the public.


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