Metals & Mining News

power plants: Stocks at power plants likely to dip further: Coal Secy Amrit Lal Meena


Recent rain spell in eastern Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal has affected coal production and dispatch for the last seven days, which may take coal stocks at domestic coal-based power plants further down to 20 million tonnes from the current 21 million tonnes, coal secretary Amrit Lal Meena told ET. However, the situation is not critical and stocks at power plants will start increasing mid-October onwards, he said.

Stocks in three of Coal India Ltd’s subsidiaries – Northern Coalfields Ltd, Central Coalfields Ltd and Bharat Coking Coal Ltd – have gone down slightly more and fuel is being diverted from other areas like South Eastern Coalfields Ltd, he said. “This kind of diversion has been made in the last 3-4 days, but we are maintaining [the requirement]. There is no criticality per se, but a little adjustment has to be made,” he said. Despite the rain, transportation from Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd has been better, he said, adding that Western Coalfields Ltd and Singareni Collieries Companies Ltd are also operating normally now. Stocks at domestic coal-based plants depleted to 21 million tonnes as of October 4 from opening stock of 33 million metric tonnes as of August 1. Last year on October 4, stocks at domestic coal-based plants were at 23.8 million tonnes.

July-September usually sees lower coal production and dispatch owing to the monsoon, but this August and September saw record-breaking peak electricity demand that led to a faster depletion of the fuel at power plants.

For the logistical constraints in transport of coal, there are long term plans in place, Meena said. The challenge of railway rake movement is faced mainly in Jharkhand, West Bengal and parts of Madhya Pradesh, he added. The operationalization of a dedicated line from Sonnagar in Bihar to Dadri in the National Capital Region, as part of the Dedicated Freight Corridor, has improved the average time of transport to 35 km per hour from 16 km, he said. Results of this efficiency will be visible in 15 days, he said.

The four-laning of lines from Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh to Jharsuguda in Odisha and three-laning from Bilaspur to Katni in Madhya Pradesh – one the busiest sections – will also ease the transportation.

The start of Angul-Balram railway lines for transport of coal from Mahanadi Coalfields will also start showing results.The steps taken have eased the logistical constraints, Meena said, adding that Railways have also inducted additional wagons leading to more rake availability for power plants compared with earlier.


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