The Electricity Authority data shows that around 44 of the country's thermal power plants including the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), that account for nearly 60% of the total power supply are facing severe coal shortages.
However, Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal have assured that the things will get normal back again and the fuel-starved power plants will be supplied with coal soon so that there will not be any blackout on Diwali.
Why nation is facing acute coal shortages?
Coal India Ltd (CIL), a state-controlled coal company contributes around 85% of coal production in India. The power industry has pointed fingers at CIL, its inability to meet demand and explore new mines. Duet o lack of new mines, CIL's production of coal has idled to the 2009 levels.
CIL's production has slipped over the years. Coal Minister has knocked CIL's operations. He has blamed corruption, inefficiency, low productivity the root cause of this problem, which have eaten up at least a quarter of the output of state monopoly.
While CIL has a different view of the crisis, it has blamed the weather – the unprecedented rains, the turbulence in Telangana and a two-day strike by the workers.
Heavy rains obstructed coal supply from several mines, leaving thermal plants across the country starved. The Telangana unrest has also hit supply from Andhra's Singareni Collieries.
A strike at CIL on October 10 halted production for an entire day leading to a loss of nearly 1 million tonne. Around 3.55 lakh mine workers had stopped work demanding higher festive bonus.
Apart from the these factors, there are many other several factors led to shortage. Rampant malpractices, corruption and theft in state monopoly are one of the main key constraints.
However, the centre is working on the same, and assured things to get normalize in sometime.
Coal output can rise another 10-15% with higher productivity, which can be achieved with better staff morale, Jaiswal told ET,
"When the employee morale is good, productivity and production improve because this is a very labour-intensive industry. It can make a difference of 10-15% in production," Jaiswal said.
While, the reasons and blames can be many, but that's the ultimate consumer who suffers out of all. Will government be able to sort out a mess and provide a peaceful life to the people of the nation?