Amid reports of power crisis due to alleged coal shortage in several states, Central government has claimed that states have to pay around Rs 20,000 crore as dues to Coal India. Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal are big defaulters. It further mentioned that the Coal Ministry has been writing to States to pick up stocks from Coal India since January but has got no response.
It added that Jharkhand, Rajasthan and West Bengal have coal mines but there has been little or no mining in these states. “States are not mining enough and are not picking up stocks from Coal India despite reminders, which also contributed to the current situation. States like Delhi and Punjab had shut down main coal plants,” sources told news agency ANI. The Centre further claimed that Coal India can stock only so much as overstocking can lead to coal fires.
The government also told the news agency that prolonged monsoon and rise in foreign coal prices have led to the coal shortage that we see today. There has also been a 12 per cent drop in foreign coal imports used by power companies for blending. Due to the rise in foreign coal prices and fall in its imports, power companies have also shifted to domestic sources. Increased focus on the electrification of villages and industrialisation has also shot up the demand for coal.
Meanwhile, the government is also planning to raise the per day coal production from 1.94 million tonnes to 2 million tonnes per day in the next 5 days. “There is no shortage in daily supply of coal to States and power companies and we are maintaining 5 days stock, in a month’s time the situation will be back to normal,” government sources told the news agency.
Edited by Mehak Agarwal
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