Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has called out Power Minister RK Singh’s “sufficient” coal stock statement as “irresponsible”, adding the same thing was said during the oxygen shortage crisis in the capital during the COVID-19 second wave. “When we had an oxygen crisis, they kept saying there was no such crisis. The coal situation is similar. We have a crisis today,” Mr Sisodia said.
A “panic has been unnecessarily created about coal shortage” and this is due to miscommunication from GAIL and Tata, Union Minister for Power RK Singh said. “We have sufficient power available… We are supplying power to the entire country. Whoever wants, give me a requisition and I will supply them,” he said.
The supply, Singh said, routinely drops during monsoon as the mines get flooded, but the demand remains high especially with the growing economy. His colleague, Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi said that the increase in the international price of coal and heavy rainfall in the country this year contributed to its shortage. He added that in “another three to four days, things will be alright”.
Earlier, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote to PM Modi, warning that the national capital “could face a blackout” if the supplies did not improve.
The Power Minister also expressed reservations about Kejriwal flagging the coal shortage issue to the Prime Minister. “The Delhi Chief Minister should have spoken to me,” he said, adding, “Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor called me yesterday (Saturday) and I assured him there is no shortage in Delhi. We have power stations on stand-by,” he said.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has sought PM Modi’s “urgent personal attention” calling the situation “quite alarming”.
Punjab has already imposed rotational load shedding at several places due to the severe coal shortage at thermal power plants. The plants are left with coal stock of up to five days, an official of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.
The Ministry of Coal on Sunday reassured the country that ample coal is available in the country to meet the demand of power plants. In an official release, the Ministry said any fear of disruption in the power supply is entirely misplaced. “The coal stock at power plant end is about 72 lakh tonnes, sufficient for 4 days requirement, and that the Coal India Limited (CIL) end is more than 400 lakh tonnes, which is being supplied to the power plants,” it said.
Amid coal supply crunch, residents in Bihar, Rajasthan and Jharkhand, are experiencing power cuts stretching to up to 14 hours a day.
With inputs from NDTV