By Sarita C Singh
July 4, 2018 - India's Union Power Minister RK Singh has red flagged coal shortage for power plants for the next 2-3 years and has asked states to start importing the fuel.
"Coal will be a problem for the next two years. We have allowed states to import coal. The letters must have reached all of you by now," Singh told a gathering of power minister of states here. He said once new mines come into production the issue will be resolved, "but that generally takes 2-3 years," he said.
The coal shortage is acute since demand for power has picked up.
Data available with the Central Electricity Authority shows that seven power projects have less than seven days coal, while eight are operating with less than four days stock. Singh also asked the state power minsters to utilize the funds allocated for central government schemes on village electrification and distribution network strengthening.
"The December 31 deadline (for household electrification) is sacrosanct. States that acheive the targets early will be lauded," Singh said.
"We are giving funds. But those allocated funds are not being used. We are not able to use money. If we don't use that (funds), we would not be able to reach any home (or electrify them),"
Singh said in his opening remarks at the conference of Power and New & Renewable Energy Ministers of State & UTs here.
He said that Rs 42,000 crore was sanctioned under the DDUGJY, but around Rs 9000 crore have been spent the states and UTs and if taken IPDS into account total Rs 75,000 crore was sanctioned.
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