Coal minister denies fuel shortage for power plants

August 12th, 2008 - 7:57 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 12 (IANS) Minister of State for Coal Santosh Bagrodia Tuesday said there was no shortage of coal for power plants, and instead accused them of not maintaining 20 days’ stock as per norm. “Actually, there is no real shortage of coal for power plants. Wherever there is a shortage or delay in supply, it is because of infrastructure or law and order problems or sabotage,” Bagrodia told reporters here.

The minister said he reviewed the coal supply situation with senior ministry officials and came to the conclusion that all power utilities were getting the required quantity of coal.

“We have earmarked 15 million tonnes of coal for e-sale every month from June. Out of which only five million tonnes could be sold. It shows there is no shortage of coal at all.”

Referring to the claim of the state-owned NTPC Ltd (formerly National Thermal Power Corp) that there was shortage of coal, Bagrodia said: “Our ministry did not get even a single complaint from the public sector unit about coal shortage.”

NTPC chairman and managing director R.S. Sharma in July complained to Power Secretary Anil Rajdan that its units in Kahalgaon and Farakka faced a coal scarcity.

Bagrodia said he would talk to Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde to instruct power utilities to follow the 20-day stock norm.

He said the state-owned Coal India Ltd, the country’s largest coal company, planned to supply 292.50 million tonnes to power utilities in the current fiscal, which was around 12 million tonnes more than what was supplied last year.

Bagrodia also announced that the five percent premium on online sale price has been scrapped.

The new norm will come into effect in a week’s time, he said.

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