A “panic has been unnecessarily created about coal shortage” and this is due to miscommunication from GAIL and Tata, Union minister for power RK Singh said today amid huge concern about power supply in more than six states, including national capital Delhi. “We have sufficient power available… We are supplying power to the entire country. Whoever wants, give me a requisition and I will supply them,” the minister said.
“The panic has been unnecessarily created and the country has four days’ reserve,” said the power minister. “Delhi will continue to get supply and there will be no load shedding… The supply of domestic or imported coal will continue irrespective of the charges. Under no circumstances the gas supply will come down,” he added.
Through the week, several states — including Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi and Tamil Nadu — have flagged shortage of coal at power plants. Punjab has already imposed rotational load shedding at several places.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, warning that the national capital “could face a blackout” in the next two days if supplies did not improve.
The panic, Mr Singh said, was created after officials from GAIL (Gas Authority of India Limited) sent “wrong messages” to distributors on the supply to be affected. “They have been pulled up by me,” he added.
Yesterday, the quantum of coal received was according to the demand and the country now has four days of coal reserves. The current reserve, he said, does not indicate that the country will run out. “It is just a reserve. We keep getting the supply and this is just a back-up,” he added.
The supply, he said, routinely drops during monsoon as the mines get flooded, but the demand remains high especially with the growing economy.
In October, as the demands drop, the stockpiles will start growing again. “Earlier, we used to have 17 days of coal stock from November till June,” he added.
Mr Singh also expressed reservations about Mr Kejriwal flagging the coal shortage issue to the Prime Minister.
“The Delhi Chief Minister should have spoken to me,” he said, adding, “Delhi’s Lieutenant Governor called me yesterday and I assured him there is no shortage in Delhi. We have power stations on stand-by”.
Taking a dig at the Congress, he said, “The Congress government should have raised its reserve during their tenure rather than load shedding in their time”.