The government on Thursday launched a web portal, Prakash, with a view to improving coordination between the power, coal and railway ministries to ensure coal supplies to power plants. The portal was jointly launched by power minister RK Singh and coal minister Pralhad Joshi.
Apart from mapping coal stocks in mines, the portal will also help stakeholders monitor the movement of railway rakes and coal availability at power plants. In line with the government’s predisposition for acronyms, Prakash stands for ‘Power Rail Koyla Availability through Supply Harmony’.
The portal has been launched at a time when coal inventory at power plants are reduced to 20 MT at September-end, sufficient to last for 11 days on an average. According to analysts, total inventory at power plants and coal companies now stand at 40 MT only. Coal production in the country declined 4% annually to 304 MT in the first six months of FY20, mainly due to excessive rains hampering mining operations. However, state-owned miners Coal India and Singareni Collieries have increased their supplies to the power sector by 66% annually to 426 MT in the same period.
The portal is expected to help coal companies to track stocks and requirement at power stations for effective production planning as coal cannot be stockpiled beyond a certain quantity without the risk of catching fire. Power stations would also take more informed decisions as they would have more clarity on the exact number of rakes in pipeline and their expected time of arrival. However, the portal, unlike the power ministry’s other recently launched websites, is not accessible to general public.