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Coal supply likely to improve, says Center amid blackout concerns

Several states have expressed concern over power cuts due to shortage of coal.

New Delhi:

The coal supply situation for power plants is likely to improve soon, the government said today as several states have raised concerns over the blackout. Delhi has said the city could face power cuts in two days if enough coal is not sent to power plants. There are also reports of power cuts coming from Punjab for a long time.

The power ministry said in a statement that the coal supply issues are related to factors including increase in the prices of imported coal.

There are four reasons for the shortfall in coal stocks in power plants – unprecedented increase in demand for electricity due to the revival of the economy, heavy rains in coal mine areas, rise in the price of imported coal and legacy issues like huge dues of coal companies. The power ministry said in a statement today that states like Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are preferred.

The government said an inter-ministerial sub-group headed by the coal ministry is monitoring the coal stock situation twice a week. The ministry and Coal India Limited have assured that they are trying their best to send 1.6 million tonnes or MT per day to the power sector in the next three days and then reach 1.7 MT per day.

The power ministry said this is likely to help in the gradual creation of coal reserves in power plants in the near future and is likely to improve coal supply.

Daily consumption of electricity has exceeded 4 billion units per day and dependence on coal is increasing, with only 65 percent to 70 percent of demand being met by coal-fired power plants.

Coal imports have decreased in comparison to 2019-20 due to import substitution and rising prices of imported coal. This shortfall is compensated by domestic coal for power generation, which further increases the demand for domestic coal.

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