Coal and Power Crisis in India have increased and reached a point where now its becoming more complicated for states to handle its power cuts. With the shutting down of several thermal power stations all over India and the recent warning given by the state governments to the citizens about possible power cuts due to coal shortage, the central government has ensured the public not to worry. We have come up with a detailed analysis of all the developments regarding the issue so far.
Recently, an immediate rise in power demand occurred all over India as the government imposed lockdown after the second wave of the Corona Pandemic came to an end, which resulted in a sudden increase in power supply due to the abrupt reopening of schools and offices post Covid19. As a result, numerous thermal power plants had to shut down due to the shortage of coal. Meanwhile, the closing down of power plants have also started affecting the electricity in states with a high amount of power cuts, most of these power cuts are not even scheduled or informed prior. States like Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Punjab and Rajasthan were compelled to warn the people of the depleting coal reserves which can result in extensive power cuts all over the country.
The issue that India is facing at the moment is certainly unprecedented because no one saw this coming, but it is only logical that excess of anything is bad. The situation was so out of hand that due to the sudden high demand for electricity and extended monsoons the thermal power plants in India were left with only four days of coal supplies as per the data provided by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA). However, one cannot blame everything on the high demand for electricity and monsoons, as a country as developed as India, the government should be prepared for any problem that arises. Presently, the issue that India is facing can also be categorized under the lack of planning and coordination. Although the problem did happen abruptly it certainly did not happen overnight, it was bound to happen and the central government should have pre-planned the crisis management for the same.
On October 12, in a meeting conducted with the senior officials of the coal and power ministries, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi talked about the ongoing situation.
How did the coal and power crisis arise?
Reportedly, the crisis did not appear overnight, it was in the making for over 1-2 months now. After the end of the Second Wave of Covid Pandemic, the economy of India along with the demand for power supply rose in abundance. Also, the sudden reopening of schools, colleges and offices after the end of the second wave of Covid and government-imposed lockdown resulted in a 17% jump in power consumption in just two months. Alongside, the coal prices have increased by 40% globally, and the imports have also fallen. Another primary reason for the shortage of coal was the extended monsoons, the reason being, coal mining gets problematic during monsoons. However, the demand for coal was less owing to the pandemic but the demands for coal took a hike after the end of the lockdown and as the monsoons were extended it led to coal shortage.
What is the problem arising due to the coal shortage?
As the imports of coal have fallen, the thermal power plants that used to be dependent on imported coal are now entirely relying on Indian Coal. Talking about the ongoing hike in global coal price and the fall in imports India Economist and Vice President at Nomura Dr Aurodeep Nandi has said that “We have seen shortages in the past, but what’s unprecedented this time is coal is really expensive now,”
Let’s take a look at the state-wise concerns and problems arising due to the shortage of coal:
On October 9, Saturday Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal went to his Twitter handle and wrote that “Delhi could face a power crisis. I am personally keeping a close watch over the situation. We are trying our best to avoid it. In the meanwhile, I wrote a letter to Hon’ble PM seeking his personal intervention.”
In the letter, Arvind Kejriwal requested the supply of coal to the plants like Jhajjar TPS and Dadri-II. After the centre denied any such ongoing issue, on October 10, Sunday, Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia stated that the centre does not want to admit that there is a crisis in the country that needs immediate attention. He also criticized the government for being ignorant about serious issues.
The Chief Minister of Punjab Charanjit Singh Channi has asked the central government to provide coal to the state as due to the shortage of coal, three thermal power plants had to be shut down. The power plants that are functioning will only able to generate power for a few days which includes Lehra Mohabbat, Rajpura, Goindwal Sahib, Talwandi Sabo and Ropar (Roopnagar).
The condition of Maharashtra is the most critical right now with a total of 13 thermal power plants being shut down in the state due to the ongoing coal shortage. The Maharashtra State Electricity Regulatory Commission (MSEDCL) has requested to its citizen use electricity in a minimal amount during peak hours.
On October 10, Sunday the Chief Minister of Karnataka Basavaraj Bommai announced that they have requested the centre to provide an adequate supply of coal to the state.
Many other states are also facing the issues of power supply due to the coal shortage and are relying upon the central government to solve the situation as soon as possible.
Having said that, Madhya Pradesh is comparatively in a much better position than all the other states, claims Madhya Pradesh Energy Minister Pradhuman Singh Tomar. The Chief Minister of the state Shivraj Singh Chouhan also stated that there is no power crisis in the state.
Many other states are facing the issue of power cuts due to the shortage of coal and have requested the central government to take immediate steps to solve the problem as soon as possible. By any chance, if no solution to the coal crisis and power cuts is to be found in the coming days, the condition can be worsened with the advent of the festive season like Diwali and Chatt Puja. It goes without saying that the festive season requires higher power consumption.
Meanwhile, as a result of the ongoing coal shortage and power crisis, the central government after attending several meetings have now thought that it’s high time and they should now shift their focus on renewable energy sources as it’s both cost-effective and sustainable.
By: Manvi kumari