Coal Minister Piyush Goyal today assured that power plants will get adequate coal supplies by the end of the month or early October as the government is taking urgent measures to resolve the supply issues. About a dozen power plants have been facing erratic coal supplies for a month or so, and the minister blamed the states and power plant operators for the crisis.
"We are taking urgent measures to step up coal supply to power stations. Coal supplies to power stations across the country will be normalised by the end of September or early October," Goyal told the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce after the chamber's president, N Srinivasan, flagged the issue of the depleting stock of coal at power stations.
Srinivasan said that instead of the buffer stock of 30-40 days, most power stations are having a stock for only two to three days.
The minister pointed out that though the Union coal secretary had written to all the chief secretaries urging them to impress upon power stations to start stocking coal, this plea fell on deaf ears. He also blamed the surge in coal demand to the steep fall in power generation from other sources like hydel, nuclear and other sources which declined by 12, 36 and 7 per cent respectively, last month.
On whether the government would restore the coal cess, which got subsumed into GST, Goyal said the coal cess was introduced with the twin objectives of to fund and promote renewable energy and for fair pricing of thermal power generation.
Goyal, who is also the railway minister, said 100 per cent electrification of the Railways is his priority so that Rs 16,000 crore spent on diesel every year by the national transporter can be saved.
The Railways will focus on ramping up renewable energy considerably by utilising flexible light-weight solar panels on the rakes and stations, the minister said.