Coal crisis: Centre puts onus on states amid concerns over power outage, says no need for panic

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Updated: October 12, 2021 4:40 PM

Coal Crisis: Along with Delhi, several states, including Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan, Odisha and Tamil Nadu have been raising concerns over power blackouts.  

Along with Delhi, several states, including Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan, Odisha and Tamil Nadu have been raising concerns over blackouts.  

Amid concerns over power outages due to inadequate coal supply raised by several states, the Coal Ministry on Tuesday claimed that states themselves asked it to not send supplies when the Centre requested them to increase stocks in June this year.

“As far as states are concerned, this year till June we requested them to increase stock, some of them went on to say that ‘please do a favour, don’t send coal now’,” said Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi.

“We have continued our supply, even continued in the past despite dues. We are requesting them (states) to increase stock…There won’t be a coal shortage,” he added.

The remarks came after Joshi along with Power Minister RK Singh met Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Joshi assured that the government is in process to replenish the coal stock and asked people not to panic.

“There was a shortage of coal that was due to international pricing and heavy rains. That is why imported coal plants were shut for about 20 days. But now the rain has receded. We have supplied coal and we are in the process of replenishing the stock. So the coal stocks have increased. There is no reason to panic,” he said.

On Monday, both Singh and Joshi met Union Home Minister Amit Shah during a high-level meeting along with officials of National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) office in Delhi to discuss the coal issue.

Reacting to Joshi’s remarks, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said that it was the Centre’s responsibility to help the states. “It is Central Government’s responsibility to help the States. It is well known that there is a shortage of coal, and the States are troubled,” he said.

Maharashtra government said that it has been trying to supply electricity despite inadequate coal supply. “Despite the coal crisis, we’ve tried to supply electricity to our citizens. Even after the deficiency of coal in the state, only 4 out of 27 power generation units are currently shut,” said Maharashtra Energy Minister Nitin Raut.

Joshi’s remarks come after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the power situation was “very critical” in the entire country. He warned of a power crisis in Delhi due to coal shortage, which has already triggered electricity cuts in some of the country’s eastern and northern states.

Countering his claim, the Centre had claimed that NTPC has adequate coal supplies to meet any power requirement in Delhi, and added that the discoms can schedule power from its Dadri Power plant.

Along with Delhi, several states, including Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan, Odisha and Tamil Nadu have been raising concerns over blackouts.

Meanwhile, the government has asked state-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL) to augment the coal supply to power producers to 1.55-1.6 million tonnes (MT) per day around the Durga Puja period, and to further scale it to 1.7 MT per day after October 20.

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