Saturday, May 14, 2022

Non-power sector facing coal shortage, industrial units might close if it continues: INTUC

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  • ‘Captive power plants in non-power sectors, including steel and aluminium, are facing coal shortages’
  • ‘If our utilisation of coal is 100 percent, then we are just getting 20 percent’

New Delhi: Captive power plants in non-power sectors, including steel and aluminium, are facing an acute coal shortage and if the situation doesn’t improve soon, it might lead to the closure of several industrial units, Congress’ trade union wing INTUC National General Secretary Sanjay Kumar Singh said on Wednesday. “Captive power plants in various sectors including steel and aluminium are facing coal shortages. The priority is being given to independent power producers (IPPs) and not captive power plants (CPPs),” Singh was quoted as saying.

The statement comes two days after around 500 Indian Youth Congress workers held a protest in Chhattisgarh’s Bilaspur against the continued coal shortage in the state’s non-power sector. Bodies representing the non-power sector, like the Indian Captive Power Producers’ Association (ICPPA), the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI), among others, have made repeated appeals to the government to regularise coal supplies to the sector, citing the precarious position of coal stock at their ends. However, the government has instructed Coal India Ltd (CIL), India’s largest coal miner, to prioritise coal supplies to the power sector until sufficient coal stock has been built up at thermal power plants.

INTUC: Non-power sector getting only 20% of coal required by it

The INTUC National General Secretary said that the non-power sector has been receiving only 20 percent of the coal required by it. “If our utilisation of coal is 100 percent, then we are just getting 20 percent… If this situation continues, then the small companies will reach a level where they will have to close down,” said Singh. He added that the situation has worsened in the last two months and appealed to the government to prioritise supply of coal to industries operating in coal-bearing states like Chhattisgarh before supplying coal outside the state. 

“We have also written to the Prime Minister and said that if coal demand of the industries operating in the coal-bearing areas are not fulfilled and instead the coal is supplied to industries outside the state, then the people may be forced to go on protest. So, first cater to the coal needs of the industries operating in the coal bearing states and then send the dry-fuel outside the state,” he said.

“It’s not that less coal is being produced. Their policy is wrong. If this situation continues, in the coming days people might lose their jobs which might create unrest in every state,” Singh added.

Backdrop

The news comes days after Union Minister for Coal Pralhad Joshi said in Parliament that India’s dependence on imported coal has reduced sharply, while adding that in the next financial year, the demand will be met from Coal India, Singareni Collieries Company Ltd (SCCL) and captive coal mines. He also said that there is no shortage of coal in thermal power plants. Even in 2021, coal stocks came down at thermal power plants due to evacuation issues, but there was adequate coal available in the country, said Joshi.

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