Coal shortage continues to haunt India's largest power producer NTPC, which is depending heavily on imports, though the company hopes that situation would start looking up three to four months. E-auction of coal is benefitting none core sector like cement and steel industries. Central Government is not keen on intervening in this issue, even though many states are facing severe power crisis. Allocation of power to states from central generating stations were drastically reduced due to low power generation of thermal plants.“We are importing coal to meet the fuel shortage for our coal-fired thermal power plants. We hope, by March-April, coal supply should become normal,” CMD of NTPC, Mr R S Sharma said. Mr Sharma admitted that there have been severe shortage of coal supply to thermal power plants in the entire country and some plants are even running at inventories which cannot last even a day.
According to the latest data released by Central Electricity Authority (CEA), 43 such plants have coal stocks for less than seven days, whereas 28 power units have availability of fuel for four days, as on December 31, 2008.
The coal supply, however, was better during December 2008 compared to November. The fuel inventories at thermal power stations were slightly low in November compared to December.
There were 51 Power plants which had coal stocks for seven days and 35 units were running on critical fuel inventory for as less as four days in November against the ideal situation of 25 days.
Interestingly, by December-end, four power plants were running at coal stocks which could not last a day including thermal power stations in Yamuna Nagar-Haryana, Parichha and Unchahar in Uttar Pradesh, and Bandel in West Bengal.
Source - Hindu Businessline