Nearly two dozen thermal power plants across the country are facing acute coal shortages, a government review has said, heightening fears that the summers this year would be no better, if not worse than last year.
A subgroup of the Infrastructure Constraint Review Committee of the government reviewing the situation has found coal stock position of as many as 21 power plants "critical." The subgroup, which held its review meeting a fortnight ago, said the situation, if not rectified, could lead to severe power shortage in the coming months.
The power plants where coal stocks are woefully short include Faridabad, Kota and Suratgarh, Harudaganj, Panki, Prchihha, Gandhi Nagar, Wanakbori, Korba East, Koradih, Nasik, Bhusawal, Parli and Chandrapur, Dahanu, Ennore and North Chennai, Farakka and Kahalgaon, Mejia and Sagardighi (Unit I). The shortage of coal is attributed to a variety of reasons ranging from exhaustion of existing sources and lack of coal imports to slow evacuation from ports and pitheads.
India has 256 billion tonnes of coal reserves of which 445 million tonnes per annum is mined and 67 per cent of India’s power generation is from thermal power plants. Coal production in India has gone down to 4.9 per cent in 2007-08 from 6.2 per cent in 2005-06. The government has now decided to review the progress on each plant individually and also company-wise on coal supplies.
“The sub-group would now hold company-wise meetings to review supplies to various power plants and suggest remedial measures,” said a power ministry official on condition of anonymity.