At the outset of the festival season, only two day’s coal stock is reportedly left at Punjab’s thermal power plants, forcing the state corporation to curtail generation and impose supply cuts.
Already troubled by coal supplier Panem, which has stopped supply since September 18, the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) is solely banking on supplies from the government sector to run its three thermal plants. The corporation has sent an SOS to the state government and Centre over the dwindling coal supplies, and asked for enhanced supplies from Coal India Limited.
Underlining that Panem, which is operating the captive coal mine of PSPCL in Jharkhand, has stopped supplies, the PSPCL has requested the Union coal ministry to allocate additional 2.5 lakh metric tonnes of coal to the PSPCL till December.
Owing to shortage of coal, the PSPCL has shut down two units at the Ropar plant, one unit at Lehra Mohabbat and two at Bathinda. And apprehending a lingering crisis, it has also shelved plans to sell power in winter for the time being. The PSPCL had last month floated a tender for selling and banking of nearly 5,000 MW from October 2014 to March 2015.
However, there is a positive note. One unit of the Talwandi Sabo plant is supplying nearly 300 MW to PSPCL. The corporation is largely banking on the Rajpura thermal plant, which is generating above 1,000 MW a day.
“Indeed the coal stock has reached a critical level, and we are left with just over two days’ stock left,” PSPCL chairman-cum-managing director KD Chaudhri said.
He, however, added: “This is not only in Punjab. Situation is the same in other states. We have already apprised the government. I am personally taking up the matter with the authorities of the central government, and the coal ministry in particular, to get enhanced supplies. Hopefully we will get enhanced supplies in the coming days as there were some festival holidays at places from where Coal India is to send us coal.”