NEW DELHI: The Centre has stated that the country has sufficient coal reserves to provide electricity, but state governments have expressed concerns about thermal power plants being shut down due to coal constraints. As per reports, three thermal power plants in Punjab, four in Kerala, and 13 in Maharashtra have been shut down.
Karnataka and Punjab chief ministers have urged the Centre to increase coal supply.
Congress has blamed the federal government for the country’s coal shortages and has expressed concern that power rates may be raised as a result of the recent spike in gasoline costs.
The following are the key developments in this story:
1. India’s power crisis fears have been exaggerated, according to a statement released by the Union Power Ministry on Sunday. “Ample coal is available in the country to meet demand,” the coal ministry said.
2. On Sunday, Union Power Minister RK Singh inspected the coal stockpiles at all thermal power plants. According to previous reports, more than half of India’s 135 coal-fired utilities, which supply more than half of the country’s electricity, have fuel stocks that will last just under three days.
3. The Centre’s reaction came after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal expressed fear that the central government will fail to address the coal shortfall at power plants on time, causing power outages in the city. He requested the Prime Minister’s help in resolving the problem.
4. Following the declaration by the Union Power Ministry, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia stated that the Centre was not prepared to admit the existence of a coal crisis. He went on to say that the government’s approach of “turning a blind eye” to any problem could be detrimental to the country.
5. Jairam Ramesh, a former Union minister, and current Congress leader, has called for an investigation into the coal shortfall.
6. Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh’s energy minister, Pradhuman Singh Tomar, said on Sunday that the state was in a stronger situation. The state government has also issued tenders for the acquisition of eight metric tonnes of coal for its power plants, according to the minister.
7. In Punjab, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) head Sukhbir Singh Badal attacked the Congress-led government, claiming that the current crisis is totally “man-made” and the result of the ruling party’s “absolute disregard and lack of preparation and preparedness.”
8. Punjab’s power supply situation has worsened, with the state-owned utility PSPCL announcing on Sunday that up to three-hour daily power cuts will persist in the state till October 13.
9. In a year when the country generated record amounts of coal, heavy rains in the coal-producing region disrupted the movement of the fuel from mines to power plants, affecting power output in several states, including Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi, and Andhra Pradesh.
10. Another element contributing to the current problem is power plants that use imported coal to create electricity, which has either reduced or stopped production due to a spike in international energy prices making it harder for them to satisfy their commitments to states at a specific rate.