New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Union Power Minister Raj Kumar Singh on Sunday held a high-level meet amid blackout concerns and said that "panic has been unnecessarily created" over the shortage of coal at thermal power plants across the country.

Blaming Congress for creating a panic, Singh said that India has an average coal reserve at power stations that can last for over four days, adding that he is in constant touch with Union Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi over the same.

"I have asked the GAIL CMD to continue supplying the required amount of gas to power stations across the country. He has assured me that the supplies will continue. Neither there was any shortage of gas in the past, nor will it happen in the future," Singh was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

"In effect, neither there was, nor there is any crisis. It was created unnecessarily. I've warned Tata Power CEO of action if they send baseless SMSs to customers that can create panic. Messages by GAIL and Tata Power qualify as acts of irresponsible behaviour," he added.

Also Read -- Jagran Explainer: Why there is a coal shortage in thermal power plants in India and why it's a concern

Earlier in the day, Singh held a meet with officials of Delhi's Power Ministry, BSES and Tata power at his Delhi residence after several states -- Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh -- expressed concerns over the shortage of coal and warned of blackouts in many cities.

The Centre had earlier said that energy crisis is looming in some states due to a combination of factors such as excess rainfall hitting coal movement and imported coal-based power plants generating less than half of their capacity due to record high rates.

In a year when the country produced record coal, rains hit movement of the fuel from mines to power generation units, impacting power generation in many states, including Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi and Tamil Nadu.

While power producers and distributors have warned of blackouts as generation units are running coal as low as two days, the Coal Ministry said the country has adequate coal stocks and low inventory doesn't mean generation will stop as stock is being continuously replenished.

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.

(With inputs PTI, ANI)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma