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Amit Shah meets Coal and Power Ministers, amid concern over blackout

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date

New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah is meeting Power Minister RK Singh, Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi along with officials of the Power and Coal Ministry amid reports of coal shortage in the country which could lead to a power crisis in the country. NTPC officials are also present in the meeting.

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State-owned CIL on Monday said it has scaled up the supply of coal to power utilities across the country to 1.51 million tonnes (MT) per day during the past four days of the current month, and stressed that it is building up adequate evacuation logistics to transport the dry fuel.

The development assumes significance in the wake of reports that warned of a power crisis looming large due to the coal shortage in the country.

“With calls for more coal gaining tempo, Coal India Ltd (CIL), amid renewed urgency, scaled up supplies to power utilities of the country to 1.51 million tonnes (MT) per day during the past four days of October ahead of the festival,” it said.

The average supplies to the coal-fired power plants during October so far has been 1.43 MT per day, which has now been augmented to 1.51 MT in the past four days.

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CIL added that it is marshalling all its efforts to bridge the demand-supply gap to the extent possible.

With 40 million tonnes stock at its pitheads and increasing, the availability of coal would not be a problem.

The total offtake has gone up to 1.73 MT per day during October (till Sunday), posting a 10 per cent jump over the same period last year.

CIL Director (Marketing) S N Tiwary said, “The aim is to ramp up supplies to the power sector even higher which we hope to achieve after Puja.

Once the despatch rate is maintained, the stock build-up will help tide over the tight situation.

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“Despite heavy rainfall, CIL produced about 126 MT of coal during the second quarter of the current financial year, setting a record high for the second quarter, posting a 9.6 per cent year-on-year growth.

During the first 10 days of October, CIL’s output has logged 6.5 per cent growth over last October.

Going forward, the production will increase further when the attendance at coalfields improves after festival holidays.

CIL’s supplies to power generation companies (gencos) have been at an all-time high till now this fiscal but it is the never-experienced-before hunger for the dry fuel, spurred by an unmatched increase in power generation that upset the demand-supply scales.

Once October and major festivals are over, conditions will improve and the power demand is expected to be down by a notch, easing the pressure, it said.

During the first half of the current fiscal, loading to the power sector at 225.3 rakes per day was up 28 per cent compared with 176.3 rakes of last year same period.

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“The company is building up adequate evacuation logistics to transport coal,” it said.

The major pain point for CIL has been 14 imported coal-based power plants scaling down their generation due to skyrocketing coal prices in the international markets.

Domestic coal-based thermal power plants had to step in to fill in the generation shortfall, which in turn placed an un-factored load of around 10 MT on CIL.

Had this not happened, the stocks at power plants would have been around 17-18 MT instead of the bleak seven MT now.

During September, the generation from these plants at 2.041 MW fell short by 75 per cent against the target of 8.114 MW. The generation logged negative growth of 72 per cent compared to September 2020, when they generated 7.238 MW.

Progressive up to September, the contraction in the generation was 30 per cent over the same period a year ago.

Coal India Ltd (CIL) accounts for over 80 per cent of the domestic coal output.

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