- For IPPs and state gencos also, we have advised coal imports of 4 percent of need for blending purposes, said the Power Secretary
- We are continuously monitoring (coal stocks) and the coal ministry has assured us that by the end of March, stocks at power plants will be 47 MT, said Kumar
New Delhi: The government has asked NTPC and its subsidiary Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) to import 10 percent of their coal requirement for blending, Power Secretary Alok Kumar has said. In an interview to The Economic Times, the top official said that the directive has been issued to ensure that there is sufficient coal stock in case there is a disruption in supply like earlier this year. “Just to have a proper cushion, the power ministry has advised NTPC and DVC to arrange coal imports of 10 percent of their demand for blending, so that there is sufficient stock in case there is a disruption in coal supply.”
“For IPPs and state gencos also, we have advised coal imports of 4 percent of need for blending purposes,” said the Power Secretary.
‘Govt continuously monitoring coal stock at thermal power plants’
The top official said that the Ministry of Power is continuously monitoring coal stocks at thermal power plants. “Coal stocks norms have been revised and stocking limits have been laid out for various months. We are continuously monitoring and the coal ministry has assured us that by the end of March, stocks at power plants will be 47 million tonnes from the present 23 MT. Recently, a review was done on production by CIL mines and captive mines,” said Kumar.
‘Coal import is a contingency plan’
Commenting on the government’s plan to rely on imported coal for ensuring continuity of coal supplies to the power sector, the Power Secretary said that the import of coal could be a contingency plan to avoid supply disruptions. “If need be, depending on imported coal prices. When imported coal prices go higher, the imported coal-based plants are not dispatched because their cost goes up and there is more pressure on domestic coal. If domestic coal production does not increase, import of coal is not ruled out for blending and if it is good for maintaining sufficient stocks. This is a contingency plan — a better option than facing supply disruptions,” said Kumar.
The statement comes days after Power Minister RK Singh told Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi in a letter that the promised quantum of coal is not being supplied to thermal power plants by coal companies. While pointing out that power demand is going to increase again from March 2022 onwards, Singh told Joshi said that he is “constrained” to point out that at a recent high-level meeting, the number of coal rakes that were promised to be dispatched daily is still not being supplied. In the letter, the Power Minister also alleged that Joshi’s “officers” gave him wrong information about what caused the coal crisis earlier this year.
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