Amid concerns being expressed about a possible power crisis in the wake of reports of coal shortage in the country, the government has once again assured that there is ample coal available in the country to meet the demand for power plants.
But how did India fall upon a coal crisis of this kind. We take a look current coal crisis and the possibility of power shortage in the country.
There are four reasons for the depletion of coal stocks in the country.
- An unprecedented increase in demand for electricity.
- Heavy rains in coal mine areas during September 2021.
- An increase in prices of imported coal to an unprecedented high level.
- Non-building of adequate coal stocks before the onset of Monsoon.
States that are most affected by the coal shortage are:
Punjab, Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala & Madhya Pradesh.
India relies heavily on thermal power plants for its electricity needs and therefore coal remains as the major fuel behind India’s electricity supply. It is the second largest importer, consumer and producer of coal, and has the world’s fourth largest reserves. India is facing two challenges- soaring electricity demand as manufacturing and business rebounds after Covid-19 curbs were lifted and a fall in local coal output.
As per data from the Central Electricity Authority over half of the country’s 135 coal-fired power plants were left with an average of less than four days of coal stocks in September-end, down from the average of 13 days at the start of August.
The crisis comes as the country enters the festive season in October, when the electricity demands are higher.