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Amid crisis, Centre says Maharashtra, TN should clear dues to coal cos

A senior official in the central government has said that one needs to look beyond the power crisis and coal supply issues into the problem of outstanding dues, which was affecting power production and supply in states.

Assruing that the supply situation was under control, power secretary Alok Kumar said certain states have huge outstanding dues to coal companies while others have low low coal stock.

“There are power shortages in some pockets in certain states but the power supply situation is under control. The power shortage is not very critical,” Kumar told News18. “Rajasthan had not paid their captive coal mine developer. Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and UP need to clear dues to coal companies to sustain supplies. There is no problem of payments from Gujarat and Haryana.”

Kumar told the channel that the coal secretary had promised to ramp up supplies so that NTPC, the country’s largest power producer, has enough coal.

Also read: No power crisis, says Union minister

“Average power exchanges are quoting ₹12-13/unit. More power supply is likely to bring prices down further. Coal production will definitely go up,” he said.

More than half of India’s 135 power plants are coal-fired and supply around 70% of India’s electricity, but these have less than three days of coal stocks as against a requirement of 15-30 days, according to the Centrall grid operator data.

Price surge and erratic demand and supply has hit energy distribution across the world as recovery since the pandemic has been sluggish. China had closed factories and schools following widespread outages.

Among states, Punjab is among the worst-hit, and has reportedly imposed up to three-hour daily power cut. The Kerala government too said that it may have to resort to load-shedding if the power distribution from the Central pool continues to be low for a long time. Rajasthan also has a one-hour power cut. The Tamil Nadu government will suspend power in certain parts to carry out maintenance work.

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