Western Coalfields (WCL) said on Friday that Karnataka Power Corporation (KPCL) has not started lifting coal from the mines allocated to its power plants, even though coal stock at the latter’s thermal power plants are at precariously low levels. As on October 26, coal stock at KPCL’s two thermal power stations (1,700 MW Bellary and 1,720 MW Raichur) was not even sufficient to last for one day. KPCL has not been taking coal from WCL mines through the rail-cum-road mode (RCR) — the power producer’s usual method of procuring coal — since the beginning of this financial year. In a meeting held on October 11 between WCL and the managing director of KPCL, it was agreed that WCL would dispatch one rake of coal to KPCL plants every day, covering 50% of the requirement. KPCL also consented to WCL’s offer of 4.5 lakh tonne of coal from the former’s Penganga, Pauni-2 and Gauri Deep mines, which was to be collected through RCR.
WCL, a unit of coal behemoth Coal India Ltd (CIL), said that it has been supplying one rake per day to KPCL after the meeting. “Even after repeated assurance from KPCL management, they could not start coal movement through RCR mode,” WCL added. Karnataka bought 6.2 million units of electricity from power exchanges on Wednesday. CIL has been supplying more than 215 rakes to the power sector from October 5, as per the decision taken by the secretaries of coal and power ministry in a meeting held on October 3 after coal stocks at thermal power plants across the country started dropping to alarmingly low levels from August. The situation became more severe as the railways was not equipped to provide rakes after the sudden surge in coal demand, following power generation from wind, nuclear and hydro plants fell. According to government officials, the thermal power sector did not build up coal stocks during the April-August period in-spite of repeated advice.