New Delhi: Amid reports of an ongoing coal crisis, the Central government will ramp up coal production in the next five days, news agency ANI quoted its sources as saying. The government plans to ramp up per day coal production from 1.94 million tonnes to 2 million tonnes per day.
Several states, including Delhi, Punjab, Kerala and Rajasthan, have raised an alarm over the shortage of coal and a subsequent power crisis. However, as per ANI‘s government sources, the states are not mining enough and are not picking up stocks from Coal India despite several reminders which has also contributed towards the current situation. States like Delhi and Punjab had shut main coal plants. The states have to pay nearly Rs 20,000 crores as dues to Coal India, ANI sources said.
Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Tuesday reviewed the coal supply and power generation scenario as the government looks at ways to defuse the energy crisis being faced by several states. At the meeting over coal shortage at power plants which have led to blackouts in some states, Power Secretary Alok Kumar and Coal Secretary AK Jain made a presentation on coal and power availability, sources said, adding that ways to increase transportation of coal were also discussed during the meeting.
The coal ministry has been asked to ramp up the supply of coal while railways has been asked to make available rakes to transport the fuel to power plants, the sources said.
The shortage of coal — which makes up around 70 per cent of India’s electricity mix — has forced rotational power cuts in states from Rajasthan to Kerala.
About two-thirds of the coal-fired power plants had stockpiles of a week or less but the coal ministry said, “any fear of disruption in the power supply is entirely misplaced.”
States have been forced to buy power from exchanges at high rates to meet demand.
To defuse the crisis, the Union power ministry has issued instructions ranging from asking states not to sell power at high prices on the exchange to ordering state electricity generators to ensure adequate supplies.
State-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL) has been asked to augment the coal supply to power producers to 1.55-1.6 million tonnes per day this week and to further scale it up to 1.7 million tonnes daily after October 20.
Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi said the government is making full efforts to meet the coal demand of power producers. “We at the ministry and CIL are making full efforts to meet the coal demand… Yesterday (Monday), we supplied around 1.95 million tonnes of coal. Around 1.6 million tonnes from CIL and the remaining from Singareni Collieries Company Ltd. All put together, 1.95 million tonnes we have supplied”.