Government assures availability of coal to power plants

October 13th, 2011 - 7:38 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 13 (IANS) The government said Thursday it would take appropriate measures to ensure greater availability of coal to power plants as electricity shortage worsened across the country.

“To ensure greater availability of coal for the power sector, the ministry of coal has decided to offer some of the e-auction coal to the sector during the current month,” an official statement said.

This will be made available against already concluded fuel supply agreements. “The power utilities will be expected to make their own arrangements for lifting and transportation,” according to a statement released by the coal ministry.

“This step is expected to help power sector to overcome the temporary shortage of coal,” it said.

As per the government policy, 10 percent of the total available quantity of coal is kept for e-auction.

Most parts of the country, including the national capital, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, have been facing long and frequent power outages for the last couple of weeks due to severe shortage of supply.

Shortage of coal has hit output at most of the thermal plants across the country. Most plants have been producing significantly less power than their installed capacity.

Heavy rains in coal producing areas and a two-day strike by workers of Coal India recently has compounded the problems of many power plants.

Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal Wednesday directed government-run firms to supply coal to power plants on a priority basis.

The minister said loading of coal will be increased immediately to 180 rakes per day from the present 153 rakes. “Out of these, 145 rakes will be reserved for power sector.”

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