New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday afternoon held a crucial meet with Power Minister Raj Kumar Singh and Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi at his office in New Delhi amid blackout concerns in several states across the country due to an alleged shortage of coal at several thermal power plants. The meeting was also attended by officials from Power and Coal Ministeries. Besides them, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Limited officials were also present at the meet.

Shah's meeting with his Cabinet colleagues comes a day after the Union Power Minister assured that there is "no threat of disruption" in power supply after states like Delhi, Rajasthan, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh expressed concerns over the shortage of coal supply to thermal power plants.

In a press briefing, Singh said that he has discussed the situation with Joshi and assured that India has adequate coal reserves, adding that there is "no need for panic". He also attacked Congress for its criticism over the issue, asking the grand old party not to do "unnecessary politics".

"The first thing I want to say is that this panic was unnecessarily created without any reason, the panic was created because the CMD of GAIL has sent a message to Bawana gas power plant that it will stop supplying gas after 2 days because their contract was about to expire," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

"I've asked GAIL CMD, who participated in today's meeting, to continue the required supplies and warn both DISCOM CEO and GAIL CMD that such a thing should not repeat and if such irresponsible behaviours happen then we will take action," he added.

After Singh's assurance, the Union Power Ministry, in a separate statement, power plants in India have a coal stock of 72 lakh tonnes which is sufficient enough to last for four days. It also said that the coal stock is getting "replenished by the supplies from the coal companies on a daily basis".

"The daily average coal requirement at the power plants is about 18.5 lakh tonnes of coal per day whereas the daily coal supply has been around 17.5 lakh tonnes per day. This due to extended monsoons the despatches were constrained," it said.

India is the fourth largest importer of coal. In 2021, the country had produced record coal, but supply has been hit due to excessive rains in coal producing belt, impacting power generation in many states including Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi and Andhra Pradesh.

Another factor that has contributed to the present crisis is power plants that used imported coal to generate electricity, have either curtailed generation or completely stopped as a spurt in international energy prices has made it difficult for them to meet the commitments to states at a particular rate.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma