Centre Raps States for Refusing ‘Favour’ in June Despite Request to Increase Coal Stock
Union Minister for Coal Pralhad Joshi on Tuesday accused some states of refusing to increase their coal stocks when the Centre had requested them to do so in the past. This counter-attack comes after some state governments raised concerns over the country’s power plants grappling with coal shortages at a time when the festival season has already begun. Follow LIVE UPDATES
Speaking to ANI, the minister said the central government on Monday supplied 1.94 million tons, the highest ever supply of domestic coal, in the country. “Due to rains, there was coal shortage, causing an increase in international prices from Rs 60 per ton to Rs 190 per ton. Subsequently, imported coal power plants are either shut for 15-20 days or producing very less. This put pressure on domestic coal.”
“Yesterday we supplied 1.94 million tons, the highest ever supply of domestic coal. As far as states are concerned, this year till June we requested them to increase stock, some of them went on to say that ‘please do a favour, don’t send coal now’,” he added.
Appealing to states to increase their coal stocks to avoid any shortage, he said, “We have continued our supply, even continued in the past despite dues. We are requesting them (states) to increase stock. There won’t be a coal shortage.”
However, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the government is “lying” about the coal crisis. “If they are saying that there is no shortage of coal then they are lying. There is a severe shortage.”
Maharashtra Energy Minister Nitin Raut said the state is managing to provide electricity to its citizen amid coal crisis. “Despite the coal crisis, we have tried to supply electricity to our citizens. Even after the deficiency of coal in the state, only 4 out of 27 power generation units are currently shut,” he said.
Joshi and Union Power Minister RK Singh have met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah to discuss ways to resolve the reported coal crisis which could lead to power cuts across the country.
Several states have warned of a power outage in the wake of a severe coal shortage, but the coal ministry has asserted that sufficient dry fuel is available in the country to meet the demand of electricity generating plants and has dismissed as “entirely misplaced” any fear of disruption in power supply.
GOVT WARNS STATES Against Exploiting Surging Power Prices
The power ministry has warned states that federal power producers will curtail supplies of electricity to them if their utilities are found selling power on exchanges to take advantage of surging prices.
Some states, instead of supplying electricity to their consumers, are imposing rolling power cuts known as load shedding, and selling power at higher prices to energy exchanges, the ministry said in a statement, without giving details.
States that do this risked having federally supplied power, known as unallocated power, cut, it said. If states are not serving their customers but are “selling power in the power exchanges at a higher rate, the unallocated power of such states shall be withdrawn and allocated to other needy states,” the ministry said.
The ministry said if any state had a surplus of power, it should inform the government which would allocate that electricity to states that needed it.