Union Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi on Tuesday told CNBC-TV18 that the energy crisis situation in the country is improving and that the power sector's daily coal demand is being met for the last four days.
He cited a sudden huge hike in international prices as one of the reasons for the shortage. “Imported coal-based plants were under pressure because from Rs 60, the price has gone to Rs 190 per tonne that is why they are not generating (electricity). The entire burden has come on Coal India and domestic coal (producers),” he said.
Apart from that, the minister pointed to the inability to transport and produce coal due to heavy rain in coal-producing areas.
He added that power demand has increased, which is a sign of the economy picking up and that is why the shortage happened. The demand from the Power Ministry is around 2 million tonne per day and at present, 1.8-1.9 million tonne is being supplied from at least last three to four days.
He said, “coal will be rolling stock, so for many days it will continue.” Joshi said that it will take time but assured that the demand for 2 million tonne per day will be met from October 21 onwards.
Joshi noted that coal usage is inevitable but needs to be balanced. He added that coal gasification and coal liquification are also being planned, for which a lot of incentive has been given.
On 1 billion tonne production by Coal India itself by 2024, Joshi said, it may be slightly delayed given the one and a half year has been lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He assured that it is being planned to meet the target by 2025 but refused to divulge any further details.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday took stock of the coal supply in the county and its impact on power generation. He was accompanied by Power Minister RK Singh, Coal Minister Joshi and key officials from the two ministries.