Coal Ministry allays fears of power disruption, says supply ‘ample’

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New Delhi, October 11

Even as several chief ministers sounded the alarm about depleting coal supplies at power plants, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a review meeting on Monday while the Coal Ministry said any fear of disruption in the power supply is entirely misplaced.

There is ample coal to meet the demand of coal-based thermal power plants. The 72 lakh tonne of stock at the power plant end is sufficient for four days’ requirement. Moreover, the stock at Coal India Limited (CIL) end is over 400 lakh tonnes, which is being supplied to the power plants, said the Coal Ministry in the statement. Ideally, coal stocks at power plants should be for two months of consumption.

In an indication that the central government is currently focused on removing the supply constraints, Shah met Power Minister RK Singh and Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi along with senior officials from the two ministries.

The meeting was informed that the domestic coal supply was being increased to build up sufficient stocks. CIL will increase its daily coal supply to 16 lakh tonnes by this month-end from 14 lakh tonnes it had supplied during the rains. Its subsidiaries and captive coal blocks will contribute another 3 lakh tonnes every day.

The Coal Ministry statement admitted to two reasons that have triggered low stocks of coal at power plants. The first is a one lakh tone daily shortfall due to the extended monsoons. The second was the high international prices of coal which reduced generation at import-based power plants by almost 30 per cent.

However, the Ministry pointed out that the coal available at the power plants gets replenished on a daily basis. “Therefore, any fear of coal stocks depleting at the power plant end is erroneous,’’ it reiterated.

CIL supplied over 255 million tonnes of coal to the power sector this year—the highest ever H-1 supply from CIL to the power sector—despite heavy rains in the coal fields.

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