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Govt to ramp up per day coal production to 2 million tonnes in next 5 days: Sources

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Workers carry coal to load on a truck in Gauhati, India. An energy crisis is looming over India as coal stockpiles grow perilously low.

The Centre is likely to ramp up per day coal production from 1.94 million tonnes to 2 million tonnes in the next 5 days, the government sources said on Tuesday. The move came amid reports of possible power disruptions in some states due to coal shortage concerns.

No supply of coal was ever stopped to any state despite huge dues, the government sources said, adding that the states have to pay nearly Rs 20,000 crores as dues to Coal India.

“The Centre is fulfilling all the demands required by the states. Coal stocks have started increasing in the last four days,” they said.

The situation will be normal within a month. There is no shortage in daily power and coal supply.

“States are not mining enough and are not picking up stocks from Coal India despite reminders, also contributed to the current situation. States like Delhi and Punjab had shut main coal plants,” sources further said.

‘There won’t be a coal shortage,’ assures minister amid growing concerns 

The Centre on Tuesday acknowledged that there was a ‘coal shortage’ due to rains, causing an increase in international prices. However, the coal minister assured that there won’t be any ‘shortage.’ In this regard, the government has also asked the states to increase the stock, Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi said. The country’s power plants have been grappling with coal shortages in the country at a time when the festival season has already begun.

“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,” Joshi said, added, “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.”

“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, “Joshi added.

Meanwhile, the government has asked state-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL) to augment the coal supply to power producers to 1.55-1.6 million tonnes (MT) per day around the Durga Puja period, and to further scale it to 1.7 MT per day after October 20, according to a source.

“Yesterday (Monday), there was a meeting in Delhi and Coal India was asked to do (supply of) 1. 55-1.6 million tonnes (of coal to power sector) per day around Puja time; and after October 20, the public sector undertaking is supposed to do 1. 7 MT per day,” the source privy to the development said.

State-owned CIL on Monday said it has scaled up the supply of coal to power utilities across the country to 1.51 million tonnes (MT) per day during the past four days of the current month, and stressed that it is building up adequate evacuation logistics to transport the dry fuel.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday held a meeting with Power Minister R K Singh and Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi amid reports of the ongoing coal shortage in the country, officials said. During the hour-long meeting, the three ministers were believed to have discussed the availability of coal to power plants and the current power demands.

ALSO READ: Govt asks CIL to raise coal supply to power plants during Puja, augment it further after October 20

ALSO READ: Coal shortage: A look at current situation in Karnataka, Kerala, TN, Andhra and Telangana

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