The Indian Railways has decided to cancel some passenger trains to speed up the movement of coal rakes to power plants, as several states are facing an acute power shortage amid a coal crisis that has hit the country. Government officials said trains were cancelled in non-priority sectors and only in routes that are not busy to ensure coal movement and faster turnaround.
The Indian Railways decided to cancel 657 train trips, including 509 mail or express trains and 148 MEMU services.
In all, 533 coal rakes were put on duty, said a railway official. For the power sector, 427 rakes were loaded yesterday and 1.62 million tonnes of coal were loaded for the power sector.
“The cancellation of trains is an interim measure. We are reviewing the situation on daily basis,” an official said.
“Coal production by CIL has increased by 27.2% in April 2022 as compared to the same period of last year and coal despatch has increased by 5.8%. The coal stock at CIL is 56.7 Mt and that at SCCL is 4.3 MT and at captive coal blocks is about 2.3 MT. Thus, sufficient coal stock with coal companies is available,” an official said.
The coal stock at Good Shed sidings, washery sidings and port is about 4.7 MT and is ready to be moved to power plants immediately. Apart from this, around 2 MT coal stock is also available at the CIL sidings. Indian Railways is fully geared to move this stock to power gencos across the country. It is increasing rakes’ availability.
Coal crisis may next hit metro, hospital services
The Delhi government today said the situation was serious as many power plants were left with only a day’s stock of coal. Delhi Power Minister Satyendar Jain warned of a possible supply disruption in the national capital. He said the main reason for the huge shortage of coal was the lack of an adequate number of rakes.
“Due to disruption of power supply from Dadri-II and Unchahar power stations, there may be a problem in 24-hours power supply to many essential institutions, including Delhi Metro and Delhi government hospitals,” a Delhi government statement read.
“These power stations play an important role in preventing blackouts in some parts of Delhi and are also essential to ensure the continuous supply of electricity to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, hospitals and people in the upcoming summer season,” the Delhi minister said.
The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), in reply to the Delhi government’s claims of a shortage of coal at its plants, said in a tweet that currently Unchahar and Dadri power stations, supplying power to the national capital, were running at full capacity and receiving “regular” coal supplies.