- Home Minister Amit Shah met his cabinet amid concerns of a coal shortage
- The Centre sought to allay fears of blackouts in Delhi and other cities
- The current fuel stock at coal-powered plants is sufficient for four days
Union Home Minister Amit Shah met his cabinet colleagues in charge of the coal and power ministries on Monday amid concerns of an electricity shortage in many parts of the country because of inadequate supplies of coal.
During the hour-long meeting, the three ministers were believed to have discussed the availability of coal to power plants and the current power demands.
The meeting was attended by senior bureaucrats as well as officials from the state-run energy conglomerate NTPC Limited.
Several states have warned of blackouts even though the central government has assured that India has ample coal stocks to meet the demand of its power plants, seeking to allay fears of imminent blackouts in New Delhi and other cities.
The current fuel stock at coal-powered plants is about 7.2 million tons, sufficient for four days, the Ministry of Coal said in a statement on Sunday.
Government-owned mining giant Coal India also has a stock of more than 40 million tons which is being supplied to power stations.
"Any fear of disruption in power supply is entirely misplaced," the ministry said.
The clarification came a day after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal warned of a looming power crisis in the megacity which is home to over 20 million people.
Several regions across India have been hit by supply shortages in recent months, with utility providers resorting to unscheduled power cuts.
India's coal-fired power stations had an average of four days' stock at the end of September, the lowest in years.
The shortage in India, the world's second-largest coal-consuming country, follows widespread power outages in China that have shut factories and hit production and global supply chains.
Coal accounts for nearly 70 per cent of India's electricity generation and around three-quarters of the fossil fuel is mined domestically.
As Asia's third-largest economy rebounds following a coronavirus wave, heavy monsoon rains have flooded coal mines and disrupted transport networks, leading to a sharp rise in prices for coal buyers, including power stations.
International coal prices have also soared.
The ministry however sounded upbeat Sunday, saying that despite heavy monsoons and a steep hike in power demand, "domestic supplies have supported power generation in a major way".
(With inputs from AFP)