There may be a blackout in Delhi in the next two days unless coal supply to power plants increases, Power Minister Satyender Jain said on Saturday.
The minister said that coal-fired power plants supplying electricity to the Capital need to store at least one month’s stock of coal, but the city’s reserve will last for only for a day.
The minister requested the Centre to arrange for railway wagons to transport coal to the power plants.
Power plants that supply electricity to the Capital are running at 55% of their capacity, Jain said.
“This appears to be a man-made crisis similar to the oxygen crisis [during the devastating second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic],” he said. “If you create a crisis, it will seem that some great work has been done by solving it.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a tweet that he was closely monitoring the situation, and that his government was trying to avoid a power crisis in the city.
He also wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday, demanding that adequate amount of coal should be supplied to plants such as Dadri-II and Jhajjar TPS that provide power to Delhi.
Amid the power crisis, Pramod Agarwal, the chairperson of public sector unit Coal India Limited on Friday told The Times of India that supply is likely to improve after the Dussehra festival on October 15. Agarwal said that the situation would become completely normal by March.
On October 5, Union Power Minister RK Singh said that the shortage of coal in India could last six months. An increase in demand for electricity and shortages in supply after the monsoon season have contributed to the shortfall.
Coal shortages in other states
Coal shortages have also been reported from several other states in the last few days.
The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited on Saturday reduced power generation and imposed load shedding in parts of the state due to severe shortages at plants in Punjab, PTI reported.
In Odisha, the Utkal Chamber Of Commerce and Industry Limited wrote a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday that many industrial units have run out of coal, or have stocks that are critically low.
The letter said that small and medium industries are suffering every day. It added that the operations of larger industries such as steel plants and aluminium smelters may also become unviable if the situation continues.