To tackle the shortage and production issue, the Coal Ministry has taken several steps, with Coal and Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi informing that around 22 lakh tons of coal have been dispatched to various thermal power plants across the country.
On October 30, 2021, Joshi took to Twitter and wrote, “Happy to share that total coal dispatch to thermal power plants recorded 22 lakh tons on Thursday. Out of this, Coal India HQ's contribution has been 18 lakh tons. I would like to congratulate all coal companies for this feat and urge them to keep increasing production and offtake.”
Joshi had mentioned earlier that he personally visited the South Eastern Coalfields and directed the officials to fulfil the demand for thermal coal power. Also, he added the government is increasing coal dispatch to power plants further to ensure sufficient coal stocks at power plants.
However, concerns remain. CRISIL's Hetal Gandhi says the stock level may dip to 8 to 10 days again by December. "You should see the stock levels going up to 8 to 10 days again by December. But clearly, they will not go up anywhere close to 18 days even by March. Close monitoring will be needed for the next six months,” Gandhi told CNBC.
She was of the opinion that if imported prices go up substantially, the incentive for domestic manufacturers to import coal and produce power is on the lower side.
Female labourers carry small pieces of coal deposit from liquid ash generated from a thermal power plant (background) in Kolaghat in West Bengal. (PC-Reuters)
“If demand goes up substantially, I don’t know what could be the steps, but you could look at steps like they may bring about curb on exports in sectors which are power-intensive in nature,” said Gandhi.
With festival of lights – Diwali – being celebrated in the first week of November and the winter approaching, the demand for electricity may breach the expected level again. The Question is, have the coal-generated power firms learnt their lesson or the situation of coal crisis will sustain? It will be an uphill task for both the power generating firms and the government to tackle this issue.
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