Here are the top 10 updates on this big story:
Several states, including Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi and Tamil Nadu, have raised concerns over blackouts. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, warned that the national capital "could face a blackout" in the next two days if coal supplies to power plants do not improve.
Punjab has already imposed rotational load shedding at several places due to the severe coal shortage at thermal power plants. The plants are left with coal stock of up to five days, an official of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited was quoted as saying by news agency Press Trust of India.
A "panic has been unnecessarily created about coal shortage" and this is due to miscommunication from GAIL and Tata, Union minister for power RK Singh said on Sunday. The country has four days' reserve, he said. "We have sufficient power available... We are supplying power to the entire country. Whoever wants, give me a requisition and I will supply them," the minister said.
The supply, he said, routinely drops during monsoon as the mines get flooded, but the demand remains high especially with the growing economy. In October, as the demands drop, the stockpiles will start growing again. "Earlier, we used to have 17 days of coal stock from November till June," he added.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Sunday said the centre's statement that all is well with the coal stock situation is "irresponsible". Mr Sisodia drew parallels with the medical oxygen shortage in Delhi during the COVID-19 second wave. "When we had an oxygen crisis, they kept saying there was no such crisis. The coal situation is similar. We have a crisis today," Mr Sisodia said.
On Saturday, Union Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi had said that the increase in the international price of coal and heavy rainfall in the country this year contributed to its shortage. "If you compare with the past many years, coal production and dispatch have been the highest in September and especially in October. In another three to four days, things will be alright," Mr Joshi was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
An inter-ministerial sub-group led by the Coal Ministry has been monitoring the coal stock situation twice a week, it said in a statement on Saturday. The ministry has assured that they are making efforts to send 1.6 metric tonnes of coal a day in the next three days and will try to reach 1.7 MT a day.
The government listed four reasons for the depletion of coal stocks at power plants -- the unprecedented increase in demand for electricity due to revival of the economy, heavy rains in coal mine areas, increase in the price of imported coal and legacy issues such as heavy dues of coal companies in certain states like Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
Chhattisgarh has said that it is making efforts to ensure that there is no shortage of supply in the state. "Our officials are making continuous efforts to maintain the supply of coal in the state. Officials are monitoring the situation. Efforts are being made to ensure that there is no shortage of supply," Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said.
In south, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "urgent personal attention" calling the situation "quite alarming". "The power sector is being pushed into turmoil because of coal shortage," the Chief Minister pointed out.
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