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Delhi may see Power Blackout amid Coal Shortage: Delhi CM, Centre gives assurance

power blackout

Delhi may see a Power Blackout as over half of India’s 135 coal-fired power plants, which in total supply amounts to roughly around 70% of the country’s electricity, have fuel stocks of less than a day. The warning came after the Delhi Power Minister held a meeting with the representatives of power distribution companies to discuss the ‘power crisis.’

Satyendar Jain, Delhi’s Power Minister, on Saturday, after attending a crucial meeting with the representatives of power distribution companies said that there is only one day stock of coal left in the thermal power station from where the national capital gets the electricity. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, elevating his colleague’s pitch, also warned of a power crisis that could hit the National Capital as seen in some parts of the eastern and northern states.

Taking it to Twitter, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote, “Delhi could face a power crisis.” He also shared a copy of the letter which he wrote to  Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagging a shortage of fuel in power plants in and around Delhi. Several states including Gujarat, Punjab, Delhi, and Tamil Nadu have raised concerns over impending blackouts. Punjab has already imposed rotational load shedding at several coal shortages at thermal power plants. The plants are left with coal stock for up to five days, an official of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited was quoted by a news agency.

“There is politics going on. If you create a crisis, it will seem that some great work has been done by solving it, Satyendar Jain said. Mr Jain also said, “All three companies in Delhi are distributors and not the power producers. We depend on the centre’s plants. If the supply does not come, then after two days there will be a blackout in the whole of Delhi.

Hitting out the opposition parties, Union Power Minister RK Singh, on Sunday,  said, “A panic has been unnecessarily created about the coal shortages and this is due to miscommunication from GAIL and TATA.” He further added “The country has four days reserve and we have sufficient power available. We are supplying power to the entire country. Whoever wants, give me a requisition and I will supply them.” The supply routinely drops during the monsoon season as mines get flooded, he clarified. 

On Saturday, Union Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi had said that the increase in the international price of coal and heavy rainfall in the country this year contributed to its shortage. “If you compare with the past many years, coal production and dispatch have been the highest in September and especially in October. In another three to four days, things will be alright,” he further added. The Union ministry of power has listed four reasons for the depletion of coal stocks, including an unprecedented increase in demand for electricity due to the revival of the economy, after chief ministers of Delhi, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh flagged the issue of shortage of coal at power plants. The power ministry said that an inter-ministerial sub-group led by the ministry of coal has been monitoring the coal stock situation twice a week as declining coal reserves sparked concerns of a power crisis in the country.

The power minister constituted a Core Management Team (CMT) on August 27 in order to manage the coal stock and ensure its equitable distribution. Representatives from MOP, CEA, POSOCO, Indian Railways and Coal India Limited (CIL) have been tasked with ensuring daily monitoring. The CMT is closely monitoring and managing coal stocks on a daily basis and ensuring follow up actions with CIL and Indian Railways to improve the coal supply to power plants. CMT in its meeting held on October 9 reviewed the status and the situation is likely to improve in the upcoming days as told by an official on the ground of anonymity. 

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