The Union Power Ministry on Thursday said it has advised states and Union Territories to allow construction activities in power projects outside municipal limits, according to a government press release. The ministry, in its April 20 advisory, said these activities may be permitted after observing guidelines laid out to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on March 25 announced a countrywide lockdown to combat the coronavirus up to April 14. On the last of lockdown, he extended it till May 3. The government had earlier this month allowed certain commercial and industrial activities to resume from April 20 in non-containment areas in the country.

The ministry said it has also requested states and Union Territories to allow the intrastate and interstate movement of construction materials, equipment, spares and consumables for the under-construction projects.

The power sector has been facing troubling times, with a loss of 30% in demand due to the absence of commercial and industrial activity, the Hindustan Times reported.

Meanwhile, Union Minister of Coal and Mines Prahlad Joshi on Wednesday ordered state-run Coal India Limited to produce 710 million (71 crore) tonnes of coal in the 2020-’21 financial year, a government press release said on Thursday.

“The demand of coal will pick up again after coronavirus lockdown, so I have directed CIL to keep the production and offtake targets at 710 MT for financial year 2020-21 in line with its goal to achieve 1 billion tonne coal production by year 2023-’24,” Joshi said. “I am proud of our coal warriors who are toiling day and night to keep the lights on even during corona pandemic, and hopeful that CIL will achieve all assigned targets on or before time. The government will extend all possible support to get the targets accomplished.”

Joshi also told Coal India that production should be consistent throughout the year and unaffected during the monsoon season.