The Centre is planning to

With a steep and rapid rise in projects with less than four days of stock, the Centre plans to create a strategic reserve for imported coal to fight the worsening power crisis.

The number of non-pit head projects with less than four days of coal reached 61 on October 19 from 58 a day before, according to data released by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA).

Despite possessing the world’s fourth-largest reserves, India is reeling under pressure to supply coal to power plants. This has led to a severe power outage across large parts of the country. To prevent a rerun of such supply crises, the Union government is planning a strategic reserve policy for gas and imported coal.

ALSO READ: Coal crisis: Number of power projects with less than 4-day coal stock dips to 58

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\”So let us start thinking and discussing about keeping a strategic reserve of gas and imported coal, so that the economies are able to tide over these supply shocks for about a month or so,\” media reports quoted Power Secretary Alok Kumar as saying at the South Asia Power Summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry.

The CEA data showed that the number of plants with supercritical stock was 65 last week. Though the situation has improved, but crisis continues.

Union Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi recently assured that coal supplies to power plants will be increased to 2.2 million tonnes (MT) daily. This would help fuel stocks reach 10 MT by 2021, from around 7.5 MT, he said.

According to the CEA data, coal-powered projects totalling 202.22 gigawatt (GW) account for more than half of India’s power generation capacity and power plants burn 1.85-1.87 MT of coal every day to generate electricity. On a safer side, power generating units use to stock 3 lakh tonnes per day, which result in an addition of 3 MT of fossil fuel stock over 10 days.

Looking at the major reasons behind the coal shortage issues, a sharp spike in power demand and inadequate stocking up by power projects before the monsoon have added to the woes. Heavy rain in September hampered coal production and dispatch, while non-payments of dues made the situation more difficult.

The daily power consumption of the country has meanwhile breached 4 billion units, which resulted in an 18 percent spike in coal consumption during August-September 2021 compared to the corresponding period in 2019.

For the current financial year, Coal India Limited has set an annual production target is 660 MT, while the coal off-take is expected to be 740 MT.

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