Railway ministry shifts blame to Coal India for fuel crisis

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New Delhi | Published: January 27, 2015 2:10:26 AM

Rubbishing the APP's (Association of Power Producers) allegation of discrimination in coal rake allocation, the railway ministry has put the...

Rubbishing the APP’s (Association of Power Producers) allegation of discrimination in coal rake allocation, the railway ministry has put the blame on Coal India (CIL) and the ministry of coal for the fuel crisis. A lower than promised supply of coal by CIL and the coal ministry’s inability to coordinate with the railways are the main issues, it said.

During the peak season (December-March), demand for transportation from various sectors, including imported coal, picks up. “To address the issue Indian Railways is loading 20 additional rakes of imported coal daily compared to last year,” a railway ministry spokesperson said.

However, loading by CIL during the April-November, 2014 period was much less than the agreed quantity, even though adequate railway wagons were available. “Ministry of railways have been highlighting this issue and requesting the ministry of coal and CIL to ensure more loading of coal during other months,” the spokesperson said.

According to railways, CIL’s inability to supply adequate coal to the respective independent power producers (IPPs) might have led to a fall in actual supply in FY15.

The APP had complained to railway minister Suresh Prabhu, alleging that Indian Railways is discriminating “against IPPs in placement of (coal) rakes”. The association also indicated that the lack of coordination between CIL and railways is leading to coal shortage for the IPPs in the country.

The supply of rakes for the power sector is monitored regularly by a committee comprising coal, railways and power ministry officials.
Denying the APP’s claim of favouring PSU power producers, the railways said, “It has planned to supply rakes on priority for critical power houses.” And it has been successful to bring down losses for the critical power plants and reduced their numbers to 13 from 30 earlier.

“In spite of heavy fog in north region, which totally crippled operations, railway has been able to ensure adequate supply to critical power producers”, the railways said.

The power producers who have coal stock for running four or lesser days is considered ‘critical’.

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