Hours after the Centre’s assurance that it has “enough” stock to meet the power sector’s demand, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has accused it of turning a blind eye to the crisis. Drawing a parallel between the coal crisis and oxygen shortage during the COVID-19 second wave peak in April-May this year, Mr Sisodia said, “When we had oxygen crisis, they kept saying there was no such crisis “
“The situation in coal is the same. Today we have a crisis,” he said.
Earlier in the day, Union Energy Minister RK Singh said “unnecessarily panic has been created over coal shortage”, adding that the situation will be handled in the next few days. Mr Singh also said that “ample electricity is available”.
Mr Sisodia termed the Union minister’s statement as “irresponsible”, at a time when “chief ministers across the country are warning the Center” about the impending blackout due to the coal stock situation.
Several states including Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi and Tamil Nadu have been raising concerns over the blackout. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in a letter, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene, so that coal and gas can be diverted to the generation plants that supply electricity to the national capital.
“Chief Ministers across the country have been warning the Center about the crisis. Amidst all this, the Union Power Minister at a press conference today dismissed the possibility of a crisis saying the Delhi Chief Minister should not have written one. letter,” Mr Sisodia said.
A crippling coal shortage has also caused supply shortages in states such as Bihar, Rajasthan and Jharkhand, with residents of the regions facing power cuts for up to 14 hours a day.
Meanwhile, the government has listed four reasons for shortfall in coal stocks in power plants – unprecedented rise in power demand due to the revival of the economy, heavy rains in coal mine areas, rise in the price of imported coal and heritage of Maharashtra, Rajasthan. Issues like huge dues of coal companies in some states like Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.