Coal is emerging as a critical natural resource today, with a global rise in its price levels. However, a few state governments in India are creating an opportunity out of it to slam the government in power. Despite the sufficient coal availability in India, the liberals and opposition are denying it and making mountains out of molehills.
No coal crisis in India, says Power Minister RK Singh
Refuting the media reports which claimed that India is on the verge of a blackout, Union Power Minister RK Singh had asserted that, “there is no coal crisis in India like China and the country is in a position to meet increasing the demand of coal.”
Underscoring the fact that coal demand is rising but the country can meet the demand and supply situation, the union minister said, “If the demand increases further we are able to meet that also as we have enough arrangements. If we see today’s stock, we have coal stock of 4 days. Coal rakes are coming daily. We have a committee headed by power secretary having top officials from railway and coal Ministry that is daily reviewing the situation and is keeping a close eye on the demand and supply situation. This committee ensures that no power plant is facing a shortage of coal.”
Opposition creating panic
Despite the assurance by Power Minister, the opposition parties created an environment of fear and panic to target the government. In a recent development, Delhi’s power minister Satyendar Jain, on Saturday, warned residents of an acute coal shortage in thermal power plants across the country. He asserted, “There is an acute shortage of coal in coal-fired power plants across the country. There is only one day’s stock left in the plants from which Delhi gets electricity, there is no coal at all.”
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal jumped into the bandwagon and stated that the national capital could face a power crisis due to a coal shortage. He also wrote to the Prime Minister and asked him to ensure that power plants providing electricity to Delhi have access to sufficient quantities of coal and gas.
Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi also claimed that three thermal power plants have been forced to shut down in Punjab. He also requested the Centre to increase coal supply to the state. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh also asked “Suddenly we are hearing of a crisis in coal supply to power plants. Is one particular private company making a fortune out of this crisis? But who will investigate?”
Center’s befitting reply to the opposition
Addressing the rumours circulated by several ministers and news portals, R K Singh, on Sunday, said that there was no power shortage in Delhi. He also assured that the coal supply will be maintained going forward.
While interacting during a press conference on the alleged coal shortage crisis, R K Singh told that he chaired a meeting with BSES officials, the NTPC and the power ministry and confirmed that there was no problem related to supply and demand channels that could pose a power crisis, according to the reports.
He stated, “Yesterday evening, LG Delhi spoke with me about a letter written by Delhi CM regarding possible power supply disruption. I communicated to him that our officials are monitoring the situation and no such issue would arise.”
He also explained that “the panic over possible power shortage started because the Gas Authority of India Ltd (GAIL) sent a message to Delhi discoms about stopping gas supply because their contract is ending.”
India is increasing the coal production
A few days back, Coal India had stated that it would escalate the production to meet the domestic demand. With the announcement, its shares witnessed a spike as it was last trading 1.86 per cent higher at Rs 188.35.
Pankaj Nyati, the Business Consultant at Platina Impex Pvt Ltd, told India Today, “This is an opportunity for Coal India to scale up production but it is somehow unable to grab it for now. Due to the monsoon season, Coal India is facing logistical issues to ramp up production. However, in the coming two months, the situation will improve.”
“Also, Coal India has been increasing its resources from the last two years to produce coal at this level after the central government said it wanted to reduce India’s reliance on imported coal,” he further added.
Despite the coal crisis, several state governments in India have been offering free electricity that further led to its overconsumption resulting in the shortage of coal in that particular state. Once they realised that they are drowning in a puddle of their own making, they started peddling a false narrative of the coal shortage in India.