Power Minister RK Singh on Tuesday told NDTV that the coal shortage in the country has not led to a power crisis yet and there is no need for rationing at present, insisting that the production will be able to meet the demand over the next few days.
Acknowledging that there have been some issues in transportation which a government committee is looking into, the minister said India’s demand for power has seen a substantial jump which is a good thing but this has created a huge demand for coal.
“It is not a power crisis. We are meeting the entire demand of the country and the demand is increasing. Yesterday, the demand was about 15,000 megawatts more than the corresponding day in the previous year… that’s good news,” Mr Singh said.
“The coal supply [is] something which we have to monitor. It’s an ongoing process because coal is patched from the mines every day. We are monitoring that on a day-to-day basis. We have a group under Secretary Power which has members from the Ministry of Coal as well as the railways et cetera. So, we are meeting whatever demand is there,” he said.
“One problem of course was that we had rains in the coal-bearing areas. Even yesterday there were showers in some parts of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh et cetera. Coal extraction also gets affected. But we are handling it and we are okay,” Mr Singh said.
“We are in a position to meet whatever demand there is. The coal dispatches have also increased. Yesterday the dispatch was 268 rakes. Which is an increase of 16 rakes from the previous day. Now that the rains have abated, now the dispatches will increase more,” the minister added.
India is facing possible energy supply problems in the coming months due to coal shortages and a post-pandemic surge in demand, the power minister had said in reports published on Tuesday.
India’s coal-fired power stations had on average four days’ stock at the end of September, the lowest in years.
More than half the plants are on alert for outages and the government is mulling bringing idled power stations back into operation.
Coal accounts for nearly 70 per cent of India’s electricity generation and around three-quarters of the fossil fuel is mined domestically.
State-run giant Coal India, which produces most of the country’s supply, has said it is on a “war footing” to ensure adequate deliveries.
(With inputs from agencies)