In many states of the country, the problem of light failure has arisen. This is a result of mismanagement of power generation companies and discoms. During the Corona period, when the demand for electricity was low, these companies refused to take coal from Coal India. Even the coal purchase agreement was not renewed. When the demand for electricity increased in August, the supply chain of coal broke. It will not affect states like Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand, but it is feared that there may be darkness in states like Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.
In fact, Chhattisgarh provides 20 percent of the coal requirement of the entire country. Coal India’s subsidiary South-Eastern Coal Fields Limited (SECL) has 41 mines here. Out of this, the number of open cast mines is more. From here 150 lakh metric tonnes of coal is produced annually. SECL extracts 130 lakh metric tonnes of coal from the mines of Korba district itself. According to officials, by law, power companies have to keep coal stock equal to 24 days of usage. Last year in the Corona crisis, when the lockdown was imposed, the demand for electricity decreased.
If the demand was less, the production was reduced, even coal was not taken.
Officials said that due to low demand, most of the power companies reduced production. At that time SECL itself had lakhs of metric tonnes of coal. Despite repeated requests, the companies did not take that coal. Producers like Rajasthan Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam did not buy any coal for a whole year. He did not even pay the amount of about Rs 600 crore which was already due from him. Now after August, when all sectors have opened up except in some southern states, the demand for electricity has increased.
The arrears of some states will increase the problem for them.
Now power generation companies and private sector distributors need more power. This process will take time. It is expected that after Dussehra, the power crisis in most parts of the country will be resolved. However, in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and some states in and around Delhi, this crisis may prolong. The biggest reason for this is the issue of payment of their dues, which will hit the supply again and again.
CM Bhupesh said – Center responsible for shortage in supply
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel is blaming the central government for the shortage of supplies. He said, when the country needed manure, it could not get manure. Now there is no supply of coal. The coal which was coming from abroad also stopped. So what is the central government doing? If there is a shortage of electricity, then industry, transport and farmers will all be affected. The Chief Minister said, the officials have assured him that there will be no shortage of coal in Chhattisgarh.
International market has also spoiled mathematics
Priyanshu Gupta, who researches coal, says, about 200 lakh metric tonnes of foreign coal is imported every year in the country. The bulk of this high quality coal is used in thermal power plants. The rest is used by the steel and sponge iron industry. The lack of it has also spoiled the mathematics.
A senior SECL official said that the price of coal has increased in the international market. In such a situation, most of the power producers have stopped importing. They have to be supplied from the mine here. It is taking time to make this arrangement. Railway rakes are also not available on time at many places. As a result, the supply crisis has increased. Power companies in coastal areas like Gujarat want to play between international and domestic market prices. So they are not making long term deals.
Monsoon has also affected production
Officials said, in 2020, 28 crore 2 lakh tonnes of coal was produced in the six months between April and September. In the same period of 2021, 31 crore 5 lakh tonnes of coal has been produced. That is, the production has increased by 12%. However, the monsoon has affected production. Rain water entered several SECL mines in Chhattisgarh. Roads were damaged. Because of this heavy machines could not be unloaded. SECL had set a target of producing 172 lakh tonnes of coal this year. So far only 58 lakh tonnes have been produced. The company’s annual dispatch target is 192 lakh tonnes. Against the target of 99.50 lakh tonnes till date, only 76.20 lakh tonnes of coal has been dispatched.
SECL is sending 3 lakh metric tonnes of coal daily
SECL officials said, at present they have 4 days coal stock of the country’s requirement. 3 lakh metric tonnes of coal is being dispatched daily. The requirement of thermal power stations of Chhattisgarh is 29 thousand to 30 thousand metric tonnes per day. That much coal can be made available at any time. Sometimes there may be some problem due to broken conveyor belt or lack of rack. In general: the mines attached to the power houses will meet their needs. Korba mines alone produce 80 thousand metric tons per day.
SECL claims more production
According to Dr. Sanish Chandra, Public Relations Officer of SECL, the company has given about 25 percent more coal to the power sector in the first half than last year. Our production is higher than last year in spite of longer duration of rains and more number of rainy days in the month of September. He said, SECL is committed to provide coal to the power sector for uninterrupted power supply.
Coal crisis calls for new auction
Researcher Priyanshu Gupta sees the sound of auction of new coal blocks in this coal crisis. It is said that the government is constantly trying to auction the coal block, but companies are not showing interest in coal without seeing a sustainable future. For the last two times, all the coal blocks he put in the auction did not sell. Now fresh bids are being invited. It is feared that citing this crisis, the government will auction coal mines in the hands of private companies at throwaway prices.