March 31, 2014 2:10:23 am
Coal India has told Cabinet secretary Ajit Seth that there is abundant fuel available for thermal power plants across the country.
In fact, it is certain cash-strapped states like West Bengal, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh that are shying away from buying coal as they are yet to clear their outstanding dues to adequately stock the fuel, the company said.
At a meeting convened by Seth’s coordination secretary S Machendranathan on Thursday, power ministry officials alleged that poor supply from CIL has rendered at least 20 thermal power stations facing critical coal position (fuel stock of barely seven days) and there is an urgent need to streamline fuel supply.
They pointed out that of the 20 plants, 10 are in super critical coal stock situation, which means fuel stock that can last only four days as on March 24.
But top CIL officials present in the meeting refuted the power ministry officials saying power plants in central, eastern and northern India have adequate coal stock position barring a few which are constrained due to logistical issues.
CIL officials said that power generators of seven states including Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal have instead asked the miner to go slow on supplies saying they are running out of storage space for the fuel.
“Besides, CIL officials also raised the issue that certain states are refusing to lift coal citing their precarious financial condition,” an official who attended the meeting told The Indian Express. The official said that West Bengal had an outstanding of around Rs 1,600 crore and Maharashtra around Rs 300-400 crore.
According to a CIL official, the outstanding dues from central and state run power generators touched around Rs 12,800 crore in June last year, but the situation is somewhat better now.
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