New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Indian Railways has decided to cancel 657 passenger trains to ensure faster movement of coal wagons amid a power shortage in the country.

"Government has decided to cancel 657 Mail/Exp/Passenger train services to ensure priority routes for coal wagons and faster turnaround," news agency ANI reported.

A total of 533 coal rakes were put on duty. For the power sector, 427 rakes were loaded yesterday. 1.62 million tonnes loaded for power sector.

The demand for power has increased across the nation in April due to the prevailing intense heatwave conditions. Different parts of the country are facing power cuts and the problem has been worsened by a steep rise in the prices of imported coal due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Jharkhand, Haryana, Bihar, Punjab and Maharashtra are among the states witnessing power outages. The Delhi government has also written to the Centre over the possibility of power cuts to important institutions.

Meanwhile, the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India on Friday informed that coal received from imports is being pushed to priority sectors on a fast pace.

Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Director (Operations and BD), N Srinivas told ANI: "Whatever amount of coal is being imported and reaching Indian ports, we are moving it to priority sectors."

"In the Western dedicated freight corridor, the whole movement of the coal supply chain is from ports to the plants which are mainly based in northern India. Imported coal, coming to Mudra or Kandla ports, is moving at a fast forward pace and we have given very clear instructions that this product has to move on priority. So, coal supply is moving forward on priority," Srinivas said.

"The train wagons are transporting coal running at a speed of around 100 kmph. You see that this is an automatic section. These goods train ensure definite transit assurance," he further added.

The official added, "We are now also moving at such a fast pace, particularly ports near power plants of Dadri, Jhajjar other Rajasthan area. The transit time has been reduced. Wherever there is coal shortage, we will ensure that coal supply is available. We will be able to move it fast and ensure that no power plant is shut down."

On this matter, Union Minister for Coal and Mines, Pralhad Joshi a few days ago asserted that there is no shortage of coal in the country. Amid the concerns over coal shortage in India as temperatures soar across the country demanding higher power supply, Prahlad Joshi mentioned that the country has 21-22 million tonnes of coal on average in thermal power plants.

Posted By: Subhasish Dutta