Maharashtra Energy Minister Nitin Raut on Friday said that load shedding in the state is a result of an increase in demand for electricity following relaxation of the COVID-19 curbs. Speaking to reporters here, Raut blamed the Centre for poor management of coal supply and railway racks, and claimed that the state only has six days of coal stock left. The state government is working towards filling the supply gap in power generation to prevent load shedding in the state, he said.
Union Minister Raosaheb Danve had earlier stated that lack of planning by the Maharashtra government had led to the shortage of coal and resultant power shortage in the state. Raut said the shortage of coal is not limited to Maharashtra, but is prevalent across India, and claimed that the Union power minister had held discussions with energy ministers from all states, asking them to import coal. “The demand for electricity has increased manifold since the economy reopened after the COVID-19 pandemic abated across the country. Electricity is not available for purchase in the open market. Similarly, there is no proper management of coal supply and railway racks, due to which the states are facing this situation," the minister said.
Raut further said that the state government has coal stock that could last for six days at the most. “We can use 62 per cent of the available coal and store the rest for monsoon. This is the present situation," he said. The state government has to give Rs 2,200 crore to the Centre for purchase of coal and it has been asked to clear the dues first for additional supply, Raut said.
“We have informed the chief minister about the current situation. We are working towards filling the supply gap in electricity generation to prevent load shedding in the state," the minister said.