Electricity

Virendra Singh Rawat / Lucknow

The government sector power engineers on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ask the union power ministry to withdraw its “coercive directives” to the state governments and state power utilities for importing coal.

Citing a submission by the union coal ministry in Parliament on July 25, the All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) said coal imports were neither required nor justified per se.

At the same time, the Federation demanded that the extra cost incurred on imported coal be borne by the power ministry.

In his letter to the PM, AIPEF chairman Shailendra Dubey urged Modi to intervene and issue directions for the withdrawal of instructions to the state generating companies (gencos) to import 10 percent coal.

Dubey said union minister Prahlad Joshi in Rajya Sabha on July 25 had affirmed there was no shortage of coal, and that the domestic coal production was 31 percent higher than last year.

On December 7, 2021, the power ministry had decided to import 10 percent coal as domestic supply was inadequate, and on April 28, 2022, the ministry directed that the thermal stations and the state gencos must import coal in time bound manner viz. 50 percent by June 30; 40 percent by August 30; and 10 percent by October 31, 2022.

Thereafter, on May 18, the ministry issued a directive that “if blending with domestic coal is not started by June 15, then the domestic allocation of the concerned defaulter thermal power plants will be further reduced by 5%.”

“Under the administrative coercion by the Ministry of Power, most of the state gencos, thermal power stations as well as central sector thermal stations were forced to give consent for import of coal,” Dubey lamented.

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AIPEF pointed out that while the power ministry was stressing on state thermal stations and gencos to import coal, the coal ministry on the contrary had asserted there was no shortage of coal in the country.

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