In order to address the power sector's complaints of coal shortage, state-owned behemoth Coal India is stepping up its efforts to meet the demand.
"Coal India Limited posted robust 10 per cent growth in coal production, 21 per cent in off-take to power sector, and 19 per cent in rake loading during the month of September," said the company in an emailed response addressing concerns on coal supply.
It also said that the supply to power plants was 35 million tonnes (MT) in the month against 29.1 MT in September 2016. During September 2017, the rake loading per day for power utilities was up year-on-year as CIL loaded 192.7 rakes per day in comparison to 162.1 rakes per day during September 2016.
"The coal stock (36.3 MT on September 1, 2017, has come down to 31.3 MT as on September 30, 2017) at CIL mines has been offered to power plants situated within a radius of 50-60 km, with a freedom to lift as much coal as they can by their own arrangement. Many of the power plants like DVC, MAHAGENCO, NTPC, ROSA, and LANCO, among others, have started taking coal from such stocks," CIL said.
Coal stocks at power plants across the country have declined to a point where they can meet the requirement for an average of only six days. Close to 70 plants have enough stocks to see them out for just three days. Low coal stock indicates the slowing down of supply as the plants need to maintain a threshold of more than 20 days of their stipulated coal supply as reserve at their sites.
Last year, the average coal stock was for 28 days during the peak demand months. (Read more here
During the meeting between the coal and power secretaries on October 3, 2017, it was decided that CIL would dispatch 215 rakes every day to power plants in the country. NCL, one of CIL's subsidiaries, is loading about 27 rakes per day. The Indian Railways has been requested to divert about 21 rakes to up-country power plants, as those located in NCL's vicinity already have sufficient coal stock at their end.
The other decision taken at the meeting was for CIL to set up an around-the-clock monitoring and control cell at its corporate office, as well as in all its subsidiaries, to monitor coal supply to the power sector on a 24x7 basis. Coal India said it already has the system in place.