UP govt seeks Centre's intervention on coal shortage issue

Against the claims of the Central government of abundant coal supply in the country, Uttar Pradesh is facing paucity of coal at its state-owned power generating units and privately run plants.

In a letter addressed to Piyush Goyal, Union minister of state for coal, power, mines, new & renewable energy, UP power minister Shrikant Sharma said the generating stations in the state are facing coal shortage as the railway delivery rakes are less than what is required.

“The independent power producers (IPPs) and the state generating stations in the state are still not getting sufficient quantity of coal to generate power according to their full capacity,” said the letter dated August 18, reviewed by Business Standard.

The letter mentioned that despite the discussions with the Centre in May and August and the intervention by the same, the situation hasn’t improved. “In order to further improve generation and power supply position in the State, we seek your kind intervention once again to issue necessary instructions to the authorities concerned to supply coal as per requirement,” said the letter.

Sharma, through this letter, also asserted the need to put IPPs also in critical list so that they also get sufficient power supply. “CEA has put NTPC and state generating under critical list. Plants under critical list are provided sufficient coal by Coal India Limited to maintain a minimum of 10 days coal stock at any point in time. We, accordingly, seek your intervention for necessary instructions to CEA to put IPPs in the state also under the critical list. This will help them maximise their generation and hence the supply position in the state,” the letter said.

Central Coalfields Limited (CCL) supplies coal to NTPC and state and privately owned plants in the state. Railways lines in CCL for seamless transport of coal are yet to be commissioned, after three years of the announcement, said state officials.

Coal Secretary Susheel Kumar did not respond and CCL CMD could not be reached. 

Private sector players operating in the state, however, have alleged that Coal India gives preference to NTPC. “More than 50 per cent plants in the country are battling critical coal situation due to poor supply of coal by CIL and Railways. It is private sector plants which are worst affected as the priority is being accorded to NTPC plants in the current phase of coal shortage,” said a senior executive of an IPP in UP.

The executive quoted a letter by Central Coalfields Limited dated August 18, which mentioned that the company has been directed to increase coal supply to NTPC units based in UP which are facing critical and super critical coal situation. Whereas, at the same time, no resolution has been initiated for the private power generating units, said the executive.

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