While companies like ITC are scrambling for coal to run their units, Coal India (CIL) says that the overall fuel offtake at the state-run behemoth in April-October 2017 is 8.7% more compared to the same period of last fiscal. Even as power units across the country are out of a shortage situation, non-power units are still fighting supply constraints.
The coal ministry last week promised to load at least 250 rakes daily and supply 217 to the power sector, leaving 33 rakes for the non-power sector. However, the Coal Consumers’ Association sources said supplies to the non-power sector are yet to improve.
ITC officials at the paper plant in Tribeni said they had stocks of less than ten days and were managing operations sourcing coal from the market. ITC produces 12 MW power to run their operations and produces 3-4 tonnes of paper per day. Although ITC is not foreseeing a shutdown, it is not getting its linkage coal. CCAI sources alleged while there was a specific action plan for the power sector, there was no plan at all for the non power. A CIL official said this imbalance occurred since thermal power plants did not build up stocks according to CEA prescription.
Coal minister Piyush Goyal wrote letters to the chief ministers and power ministers of Punjab, Chattisgarh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Maharastra, Haryana Gujarat and Tamil Nadu to build up coal stocks.
Meetings were also held with independent power producers and state gencos on June 30 , in which the coal secretary emphasised the need to build up stock by TPPs, particularly in view of the monsoon season. Letter from joint secretary, coal to the state power secretaries were also issued on August 30 and September 12 but nothing worked.
Finally, CIL had to take a series of steps from September-end to address the sudden coal shortage situation, a CIL spokesperson said. For central gencos, coal dispatch materialisation till October 17 was 98%. The materialisation of NTPC plants till October 17 is 100%, DVC (88%), NTPL (83%) and NTPC-JV (97%). The progressive materialisation for the period April-October 2017 to central gencos was 95%.