The lack of coordination amongst ministries of coal, railways and power is responsible for coal shortage which caused power outages across the country, the All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) claimed on Friday.
"The power outages across the country due to coal shortage are due to the lack of coordination amongst the coal ministry, railway ministry and power ministry. Every ministry claims that they are not responsible for the present mess in the power sector," AIPEF said in a statement. AIPEF spokesperson V K Gupta said that now they (central government ministries) have diverted the issue and linked it to states' inability to make timely payments to coal companies.
According to the statement, the Central Electricity Authority monitors 173 thermal plants across the country, and 106 thermal plants have coal stock at critical levels as per the latest daily coal report of April 27. In the case of 150 thermal plants using domestic coal, the number of thermal plants with critical coal stock has increased from 81 to 86 in one week.
In the private sector, the coal plant with critical coal stock has also increased from 28 to 32, it informed. At least 12 out of 15 thermal plants using imported coal are in the critical category as the cost of imported coal has risen abnormally. They are not willing to procure imported coal at escalated rates. Among such plants, 14 are in the private sector, the power engineers' body said. In addition to this, eight thermal plants owned by the private parties are not operating at all, it said.
There is a power crisis especially in the northern region, as Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand are all facing load shedding from three to eight hours daily, it said. In the northern region, 12 state sector thermal plants out of 16 have coal stock at critical levels, in Rajasthan six out of seven, and in Uttar Pardesh, three out of four state sector thermal plants have critical coal stock.
As per NRLDC (Northern Region Load Dispatch Centre) data, in the northern region, there is a total shortage of about 1,436 lakh units. Rajasthan has a maximum shortage of 435 lakh units, followed by Haryana at 337 lakh units, Punjab at 306 lakh units and Uttar Pradesh at 295 lakh units, it said. In Maharashtra, six out of seven thermal plants in the state sector, and in Madhya Pradesh, three out of four have critical coal stock. In Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, all state sector thermal plants are having critical coal stock. More than a dozen states are imposing power cuts of various duration from two to 12 hours, it added.