In the wake of the ongoing coal crisis in the country, the government has asked state-owned Coal India Ltd (CIL) to increase the supply to power companies to 1.55-1.6 million tonnes (MT) per day around the Durga Puja period.
The development has come at the right time when the country is grappling with coal crisis that could disrupt various industries and sectors.
“Yesterday (Monday), there was a meeting in Delhi and Coal India was asked to do (supply of) 1.55-1.6 million tonnes (of coal to power sector) per day around Puja time; and after October 20, the public sector undertaking is supposed to do 1.7 MT per day,” a source privy to the development said.
CIL dispatched about 1.615 MT of coal to the power sector on Monday.
In a country where 69 per cent of the total electricity generation is coal-based, CIL empowers the nation's power sector. Around 80 per cent of CIL's total supplies are catered to the power sector, according to a recent report of the firm.
The source said the power plants are getting the amount of coal that is required for a generation but the stocks are not building up as they did not replenish them.
The coal stocks at power plants will start building up from November 1 onwards, the source said.
"They (power plants) didn't replenish their stocks. Many of them took that risk. So, they are paying for it now," the source added.
Coal India Ltd (CIL), he said, had 100 million tonnes of fuel stock at the end of the financial year 2020-21.
"Why did that stock accrue is because people (power plants) did not take their designated supplies. They thought that why to waste money right now when there is no requirement," he said.
CIL had on Monday said it has scaled up the supply of coal to power utilities across the country to 1.51 million tonnes (MT) per day during the past four days of the current month, and stressed that it is building up adequate evacuation logistics to transport the dry fuel.
The average supply to coal-fired power plants during October so far has been 1.43 MT per day, which has now been augmented to 1.51 MT in the past four days.
Earlier, on Sunday, the central government pressed all resources at its command to ensure power plants have enough feedstock to generate electricity.
While Union Power Minister R K Singh reviewed the coal stock position at all thermal power plants, including those units that supply electricity to distribution companies in the national capital, the Ministry of Coal had said "ample coal is available in the country to meet the demand" and "any fear of disruption in the power supply is entirely misplaced".
(With inputs from PTI)