The government on Sunday said that there was no low coal supply and dry-fuel based power production has increased by about 22% in the three months of Narendra Modi-led government.
Addressing the media in Delhi, power and coal minister Piyush Goyal said that coal shortage at power stations was due to stocks being consumed faster for higher electricity generation.
"There is no low coal supply ... The materialisation of coal is as per the plan in the last few years. The fact the coal production has not increased is the really that I have inherited.
"I cannot increase coal production in 100 days .. but the fact using the available resources we have increased electricity supply by 22% which is only coal based," Goyal told reporters in Delhi.
He also said the government will ensure quick action after the Supreme Court's decision on illegal coal mine allocation to get the process rolling and enhance coal output to 1 billion tonne by 2019.
The Supreme Court had said that all coal blocks during last 17 years since 1993 by various regimes at the Centre have been allocated illegally and arbitrarily, bringing uncertainty to the fate of 218 block allocations and consequential investments to the tune of around Rs 2 lakh crore.
As on September 4, 28 power plants across the country had coal stocks of less than four days.
Goyal said that state-run Coal India will spend Rs 5,000 crore to purchase 250 rail rakes for faster evacuation of dry fuel from mines.
Goyal said the government was committed to bring about a transformative change in the power sector and ensure affordable 24x7 power for all homes, industrial & commercial establishments and adequate power for farms.
He also said the government was making all efforts to augment the coal production and the government is also expediting the completion of three critical rail lines in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha which will potentially yield 60 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) by 2017-18 and up to 200 MT by 2021-22.
He also said that government will ensure speeding up environment clearances of the coal mining projects and at the same time take steps to protect the environment.
Talking about coal linkage rationalisation he said 32,000 MW of old power plants would be modernised.
"Automatic transfer of linkages is being allowed from old and inefficient plants to ultra-modern supercritical plants in order to maximise power generation from the same amount of coal. Coal linkage rationalisation is also underway (Gujarat and Chhattisgarh swap completed) which aims to link power plants to the nearest mines."
Talking about lower hydel power production he said it was lower due to deficient monsoon.
Goyal also said that several steps were being taken to resolve stranded gas-based capacity issue and plans have been made to use gas primarily to meet peak load demand or to meet exigencies.
The minister also said that the government has invested Rs 7,000 crore in power grid security in states.
The minister also said that the government has inherited a host of legacy problems in the power sector. Over 30 crore Indians do not have access to electricity, which has a deliberating impact on health care, eduction and income-enhancing opportunities.
The minister also said he inherited a loss of Rs 3,00,000 crore from state electricity boards.