A day after he warned that the deepening power crisis amid coal shortage would lead to power cuts in Metro trains and hospitals, Delhi’s Power Minister Satyendar Jain on Friday said at several power plants, stocks were left for less than a day against the 21-day backup.
“If electricity is being produced, & we keep getting it, there’s no issue. But if power plant shuts down it’ll be problematic (in Delhi)…There’s coal shortage in country, should’ve 21-day coal backup, but at many power plants coal left for less than a day,” Jain said.
The minister also refuted the Centre’s claims that payments from states were pending with Coal India Limited.
Union Power Minister RK Singh had claimed that problems in electricity supply were occurring not due to coal shortages, but because of state governments’ pending dues or “because they have been unable to lift coal on time which has been allotted to them or because of wrong planning by them in general”.
Rubbishing the allegations, Jain said no payment was pending from Delhi and the Centre should instead focus on providing more racks to meet the increased demand.
Jain also wrote to the Centre on Thursday, requesting it to ensure adequate coal availability to power plants that supply electricity to the national capital. He also held a meeting with department officials to assess the situation.
“Due to disruption of power supply from Dadri-II and Unchahar power stations, there may be a problem in 24-hours power supply to many essential institutions, including Delhi Metro and Delhi government hospitals,” a government statement read.
Presently, 25-30 per cent of the electricity demand in Delhi is being met through these power stations, and they face a shortage of coal, Jain said.
“These power stations play an important role in preventing blackouts in some parts of Delhi and are also essential to ensure the continuous supply of electricity to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, hospitals and people in the upcoming summer season,” the minister said.
National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC)’s Dadri-II and Jhajjar (Aravali) were established primarily to meet the power requirement in Delhi. However, there is very little stock of coal left even in these power plants, the statement said.
The coal crisis comes at a time when the Capital is in the throes of a scorching heatwave which is expected to intensify in the next five days. On Thursday, mercury surged to 46 degrees Celsius at Delhi’s Sports Complex, making it the hottest place in the national capital, followed by Ridge (45.1 degrees Celsius), Mungeshpur (45.8 degrees Celsius), Najafgarh (45.4 degrees Celsius) and Pitampura (45.2 degrees Celsius).
Delhi recorded nine heatwave days in April, the highest since 11 such days were witnessed in the month in 2010.
Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Maharashtra, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh are facing some of the longest power cuts in the country.