Centre Forcing States to Buy Imported Coal to Cover-up Short Supply of Dry Fuel: AIPEF
New Delhi: The All India Power Engineers Federation (AIPEF) on Thursday alleged that the Centre was encroaching upon states' authority and forcing them to buy imported coal in a cover-up of its own inefficiencies in supplying domestic dry fuel to thermal plants.
The power ministry's directions issued earlier this month to generating companies is pushing states to import coal to increase blending to supplement domestic coal to offset the short supply of the dry fuel by Coal India Ltd, AIPEF said in a statement.
The ministry has also asked all imported coal-based power units to run at full capacity and said that the upward revision of tariff will be issued by a committee.
"The Central government is encroaching on the state authority and forcing them to buy imported coal to cover up its own inefficiencies in supplying domestic coal to thermal plants," AIPEF spokesperson V K Gupta alleged.
Gupta said the jurisdiction of the Central government in applying Section 11 of Electricity Act, 2003 is limited to a generating company that is wholly or partly owned by it and the inter-state generating stations.
In the case of a state government-owned generating station, the state government has the jurisdiction in the matter of applying Section 11, he explained.
The non-receipt of sufficient quantity of coal at thermal plants across the country was lack of coordination between three ministries viz Coal, Railway and Power, he pointed out.
AIPEF has written to Union Power Minister R K Singh that the government must now take up the responsibility to import coal on government-to-government basis and ensure that the imported coal is made available to state generating companies at the prevailing CIL rates.
The additional cost to overcome coal shortage due to the Central government's policy lapses should not burden states, it stated.
The tariff of Central government thermal plants run by NTPC would increase by 50-70 paise and it will be passed on to electricity consumers.
The Uttar Pradesh government has decided to not import coal for power generation in the state, despite the Centre’s directive.
Gupta cautioned that another power crisis may be coming soon, if coal stocks at thermal power plants are not ramped up before the monsoon.
The coal supply for June has already been reduced by 10-12 % by the ministry, it stated.
In Punjab and Haryana, power demand will rise sharply with the irrigation load going up along with the paddy plantation from the middle of June.
The domestic and industrial demand will also increase because of the hot and humid weather.
"Besides, production in coal mines decreases during the monsoon season," he pointed out.
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