Kejriwal writes to PM seeking his intervention in 'coal shortage' issue
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to direct the Railways to provide rakes for transporting coal to power plants in Delhi-NCR, which are facing "alarming level" of coal shortage.
The national transporter, however, today said Delhi need not worry as adequate coal is being supplied to the power plants.
In his letter to Modi, the Delhi chief minister said with rising temperatures and increasing power demand in Delhi, coal stock position is "very alarming" and needs immediate attention and intervention.
"As informed, this coal shortage is primarily attributable to non-availability of transportation rakes with Indian Railways due to which available coal is not getting transported to the NCR thermal (power) stations," Kejriwal said.
"It is therefore requested to kindly intervene personally and give necessary directions to the Railways for providing rakes/wagons on priority for transportation of coal in order to avoid load shedding or any major grid incidence leading to major blackouts in Delhi," he told the prime minister in the letter.
Responding to Kejriwal's claims, the railways said coal requirement in Dadri, Jhajhar and Badarpur power plants are being adequately met by the national transporter. "In Badarpur as of now, there is a consumption of 1.5 rakes, while we are supplying two-three rakes. In Dadri the consumption is of five rakes, and as of today seven rakes are there with additional rakes in the pipeline. In Jhajhar too there is requirement of around 3.5 rake while railways is supplying four rakes. So, there are adequate rakes," Mohd Jamshed, Member, Traffic of the railways said.
"We had given coal traffic preference even in January, February and March when on demand we had ensured that there are rakes available and if necessary we had even drawn it from other sectors," he said.
Kejriwal said thermal power stations in the national capital region - Dadri I & II, Jhajjar and Badarpur - are facing "acute coal shortage" for the last many days and at present all of them are operating on day ahead basis as coal stock is not sufficient for even one day full generation.
He said according to norms, this stock condition is to be maintained for at least 15 days ahead period. Jamshed said a committee comprising official of the railways, power and coal were monitoring the situation daily, adequate coal is being supplied to power houses and reserves are being maintained according to norms.
Kejriwal said that Delhi is reeling under severe heat wave conditions and peak demand has already crossed 6200 MW as on date, and is expected to touch 7000 MW soon. The chief minister also wrote to Lt Governor Anil Baijal seeking his intervention in taking up the matter with the central ministries to resolve this crisis-like situation at the earliest.
Delhi Power Minister Satyendar Jain had last week flagged the issue and said that he had written to Union Coal Minister Piyush Goyal earlier this month, requesting him to issue necessary instruction to help "resolve the crisis". The Railways said that its coal loading was on track.
"Last year we did 555 MT which is 22 MT more than the previous year. This year we will increase it further. Last year, we used 350 rakes for coal, now its 450 rakes," Jamshed said. As of May 1 this year, 285 MT of coal was loaded, out of which 260 MT was for power plants.