Nation ‘powerless’ ahead of Diwali

Several NTPC power stations have been hit by coal shortage across all regions and are supplying significantly less power than their installed capacities.

Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: The nation is staring at the prospect of a dark Diwali this year as severe coal shortage has hit power generation in many parts of the country with Delhi, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh being the worst hit.

India’s biggest power generator, National Thermal Power Corporation`s (NTPC) several power stations have been hit by coal shortage across all regions and are supplying significantly less power than their installed capacities. According to officials, mining and loading of coal to these stations has suffered due to heavy rains and strikes which have affected coal production at several mines.

The Centre is worried. Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde met Coal Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal today to discuss the issue even as senior officials of the Coal Ministry are working out a contingency plan to tide over the crisis.

As per a news channel, a senior official in the Power Ministry has assured that the government will take necessary steps to ensure that there is no power shortage during the festive season.

In Delhi, the current peak demand is around 3,200-3,400 MW while the supply is only around 3,000 MW leading to outages lasting 3-4 hours in many parts of the city. Besides the problem of low coal production, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit accused Uttar Pradesh and Haryana for withdrawing more than their fair share of power from the Northern Grid and has sought Centre’s intervention.

Madhya Pradesh has also been seriously hit as current supply is only about 6,000 MW while the demand is around 7,500 MW. The crisis in the state is mainly due to lack of coal to generate power.

But the worst hit appears to be Maharashtra. As against the peak hour demand of 16,500 MW, the state is getting only 11,000 MW, leading to outages lasting 3-9 hours all across the state. The state power utility-- Mahavitaran--has decided to impose a staggering 16 hours of power cut - once a week – for industries.

Maharashtra’s Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar met Power Minister Shinde today and discussed ways to tackle the crisis.

One of the major reasons for the power crisis in western and southern parts of the country is the indefinite strike by coal miners in Telangana in support of the demand for a separate state.

Besides Andhra Pradesh, which is very badly hit, the Telangana stir has led to lack of coal for power generation in thermal plants in Maharashtra and Karnataka. Currently, Bangalore alone is facing a shortage of around 1,000 MW, while in other parts of the state the shortage is of 2,000 MW.

In the north, Uttar Pradesh is also facing severe power shortage.

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