asked the Minister of Fuel and Power why the supplies of coal briquettes and ovoids have been reduced in recent months; and what steps he is taking, in view of the domestic coal shortage, to make available larger quantities of this fuel.
I am informed by the National Coal Board that during recent months they have stepped up the production of ovoids and briquettes, and that by December the weekly output had risen to nearly a third above the level in August last. Subject to the provision of the necessary labour, arrangements have already been made to put the remaining ovoid plants into immediate commission.
Was it not a serious error of judgment to cut down so greatly the production of these two commodities in the early months of this year, in view of the present desperate situation, which should have been foreseen? Is the Minister aware that one merchant alone could sell 20,000 briquettes a week if he could get them?