Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar on Monday expressed concern about reports of coal shortages in the country, ANI reported.
Kejriwal described the situation as critical and added that many chief ministers have written about it to the Union government. “We all are working together to improve the situation,” he said.
On Saturday, the Delhi chief minister had also written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding that adequate amount of coal should be supplied to plants such as Dadri-II and Jhajjar TPS that provide power to Delhi.
Kumar also admitted that the shortage of coal is currently a problem, according to ANI. “As per our requirement, either we get it from NTPC [National Thermal Power Corporation] or from private companies,” he said. “But the supply is affected now.”
Kumar added that the problem is not limited to Bihar, but exists elsewhere as well.
The statements by the chief ministers came as Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a meeting with Power Minister RK Singh and Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi. In the meeting, the ministers discussed the availability of coal for power plants and the current demand for electricity, according to PTI.
Coal generates about 70% of India’s electricity. Shortages of the fuel have left multiple states with supply enough to generate power only for a handful of days. In normal situations, states have a stock for 15 to 30 days.
In the past few days, governments in Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan have imposed power cuts in parts of the states.
The Assam Power Distribution Company Limited has also said in a message published in local newspapers that power generation at thermal plants has “decreased considerably”, NDTV reported.
“The power position is clearly at critical level and power outages/load shedding may be inevitable,” the company said. It urged people to use electricity judiciously.
There have been conflicting statements from the Union government about coal stocks. Last week, Union Power Minister RK Singh told The Indian Express that coal shortages in India could last six months.
“I don’t know whether I will be comfortable in the next five-six, four-five months,” the minister had said. “Normally the demand starts coming down in the second half of October...when it [the weather] starts cooling...But it’s going to be touch and go.”
However, Coal and Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi had on Sunday said there was enough stock of the fuel to meet the demand for 24 days. “[I am] assuring everyone that there is absolutely no threat of disruption in power supply,” he tweeted.