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PM Modi likely to review coal crisis today

New Delhi: According to media sources, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to review the coal supply situation in India today, as an energy crisis threatens to cause widespread blackouts in the country.

Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday, met the ministers in charge of the coal and power ministries to discuss worries about inadequate coal supply causing nationwide outages.

Many states have flagged concerns after weekend power outages, although the Centre has downplayed fears, assuring enough coal sticks to meet the demands of power plants.

The Coal Ministry said on Sunday power plants have about 7.2 million tons of coal. Coal India also has a stock of more than 40 million tons, said the ministry, calling fears of power cuts “entirely misplaced”.

On Sunday, Union minister for power RK Singh said amid huge concern about power supply in more than six states, including national capital Delhi. “We have sufficient power available… We are supplying power to the entire country. Whoever wants, give me a requisition and I will supply them,” the minister said.

“The panic has been unnecessarily created and the country has four days’ reserve,” said the power minister. “Delhi will continue to get supply and there will be no load shedding… The supply of domestic or imported coal will continue irrespective of the charges. Under no circumstances the gas supply will come down,” he added.

Since past one week several states — including Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi and Tamil Nadu — have flagged shortage of coal at power plants. Punjab has already imposed rotational load shedding at several places.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kerjriwal has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, warning that the national capital “could face a blackout” in the next two days if supplies did not improve.

The panic, Mr Singh said, was created after officials from GAIL (Gas Authority of India Limited) sent “wrong messages” to distributors on the supply to be affected. “They have been pulled up by me,” he added.

Yesterday, the quantum of coal received was according to the demand and the country now has four days of coal reserves. The current reserve, he said, does not indicate that the country will run out. “It is just a reserve. We keep getting the supply and this is just a back-up,” he added.

The supply, he said, routinely drops during monsoon as the mines get flooded, but the demand remains high especially with the growing economy.

In October, as the demands drop, the stockpiles will start growing again. “Earlier, we used to have 17 days of coal stock from November till June,” he added.

Mr Singh also expressed reservations about Mr Kejriwal flagging the coal shortage issue to the Prime Minister.

“The Delhi Chief Minister should have spoken to me,” he said, adding, “Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor called me yesterday and I assured him there is no shortage in Delhi. We have power stations on stand-by”.
Taking a dig at the Congress, he said, “The Congress government should have raised its reserve during their tenure rather than load shedding in their time”.

 

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