New Delhi: State miner Coal India (CIL) will halve its e-auction so as to make more coal available for the power sector in the context of a fuel shortage, the government said Wednesday.

“Coal India will reduce e-auction by half so that more coal is available for power plants,” Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal told the Rajya Sabha while replying to a discussion on the power ministry.

The coal ministry has been trying to persuade CIL to cut down its lucrative e-auctions by more than 50 percent to 25 million tonnes in 2014-15 from 58 MT last year.

Coal-based power projects in the country are reeling under severe fuel scarcity, and Goyal Monday told parliament that 22 coal-based power plants monitored by Central Electricity  Authority (CEA) had on July 29 stocks to last less than four days.

“Large amounts of coal are being sold through e-auction. This is not in public interest. Coal India’s primary duty is to supply to power plants,” Goyal said.

CIL sold close to 58 MT of coal, or 12.5 percent of its total production of 462 million tonnes, through e-auctions in 2013-14. Estimates put the loss to the state miner from reducing e-auctions at around Rs.2,000 crore for the current fiscal.

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