Amid power crisis, boiling heat, it's Centre vs Delhi on coal supply
As Delhi stares at a power crisis, like several other states in the country, the city-state’s power minister Satyendar Jain on Friday raised an alarm. “No (power) backup (is there).. . (the) coal backup should be for over 21 days, but at many power plants, less than a day's (stock) is left,” Jain said at a press briefing, a day after he held an emergency meeting over the issue. The minister pointed out that the city “cannot function on a day's backup".
His remarks come as the national capital is facing a brutal spell of heatwave, which has led to an increase in the power consumption. The issue has triggered a fresh row between the centre and the state as the National Thermal Power Corporation Limited defied claims linked to coal shortage, triggeting power crisis.
“If electricity is being produced, and we keep getting it, there's no issue. But if the power plant shuts down it will be problematic (in Delhi)...There's a coal shortage in the country… it should've a 21-day coal backup, but at many power plants, the stocks would last for less than a day,” the minister further told reporters.
Satyendar Jain's comments come a day after the Delhi government warned of possible challenges in providing an uninterrupted electricity supply for essential services, including Metro trains and hospitals.
"Due to disruption of power supply from Dadri-II and Unchahar power stations, there may be a problem in 24-hours power supply to many essential institutions, including Delhi Metro and Delhi government hospitals," the government said in a statement on Thursday, and claimed that both power stations had coal stocks for only up to two days. The national capital gets the maximum supply of 728 megawatts (MW) from the Dadri-II Power Station, while 100 MW from the Unchahar Power Station.
However, the NTPC on Friday contradicted the AAP government's claim and said that both power stations are running at a full capacity and receiving regular supplies.
“Currently Unchahar and Dadri stations are declaring more than 100% rated capacity to the grid. All units of Unchahar and Dadri are running at full load except Unchahar Unit 1, which is under annual planned overhaul,” the NTPC said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the state government also wrote a letter to the Centre, urging it to ensure adequate coal supply in Delhi. "At present, there is a shortage of coal in various thermal stations supplying electricity. National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC)'s Dadri-II and Jhajjar (Aravalli), both power plants were established primarily to meet the power requirement in Delhi. However, there is very little stock of coal left even in these power plants," Satyendar Jain said on Thursday, news agency ANI reported.
He also said that the government was monitoring the situation closely and making efforts to ensure that people do not face power cuts in some areas of Delhi.
For the first time in April, the national capital's peak power demand clocked 6,000 MW as the unabated heatwave continued to push the power demand to newer highs, according to an ANI report.
"There is a huge shortage of power in the country. So far we have managed it somehow in Delhi. The situation is very grave in the whole of India. Together we soon need to find a solution. Quick, concrete steps are required to tackle this problem," chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted on Friday.
(With inputs from ANI)