Thermal plants across several states in India are facing a severe coal shortage, with coal stocks have come down. The Union Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi on Saturday said that the situation will normalise in the next three-four days. However, the experts have warned that if the crisis is not controlled soon, then there will be darkness in many states of the country including Delhi.
Current coal crisis
After Delhi and Punjab Chief Ministers flagged the issue of shortage of coal at power plants, the Ministry of Power listed four reasons for the depletion of coal stocks including an unprecedented increase in demand for electricity due to the revival of the economy.
In Punjab, to overcome the coal shortage, power cuts have been imposed across the state, ranging from three to four hours daily.
What does the government say?
As per the release by the Ministry of Power, an inter-Ministerial sub-group led by the Ministry of Coal has been monitoring the coal stock situation twice a week.
There are four reasons given by the government for the depletion of coal stocks at the power plant end:
The unprecedented increase in demand for electricity due to the revival of the economy
heavy rains in coal mine areas during September 2021 thereby adversely affecting the coal production as well as despatch of coal from mines
Increase in prices of imported coal to unprecedented high level leading to a substantial reduction in power generation from imported coal-based power plants leading to more dependence on domestic coal
Non-building of adequate coal stocks before the onset of Monsoon
What do the experts say?
An expert from the energy sector said as the Covid scare is subsiding, the demand for electricity has increased rapidly amidst the increase in industrial and economic activities.
This demand is increasing not only in India but all over the world, due to which the demand for coal is also increasing continuously. This is pushing the coal prices at the international level and thus imported coal is becoming very expensive for India.
"If the crisis is not controlled soon, then there will be darkness in many states of the country including Delhi," the expert cautioned.
(With inputs from agencies)