As power plants face coal shortages, Coal Minister Piyush Goyal has asked Railways to increase coal loading to up to 500 rakes per day to meet power demand in summer, official sources said.
In a meeting last week, the minister took review of the coal stock at various power plants and coal loading by Indian railways.
“It was noted that more than 50 power plants had coal stocks less than the stipulated level,” official sources said.
It was decided that coal loading would be stepped up to 500 rakes per day from present 464 rakes per day to ensure power supplies are not impacted due to fuel shortage at the plants, the sources said.
Moreover, officials of coal ministry would be deputed to coal companies in order to ensure higher transportation of coal to the siding and faster loading of rakes.
As per industry sources, coal supplies have not improved since last monsoon when some of the power plants had faced acute coal shortage.
Power, coal and railway ministries had taken a series of measures to improve coal supplies to plants after electricity prices crossed Rs 11 per unit at energy exchanges in September last.
In January, the government decided on various steps, including the use of dedicated rail transportation and setting up of power projects only within 500 km from coal mines, to boost supplies to power plants.
The government on the other hand blames power producers for low coal stocks at plants and had said there is no shortage of coal and plants should adhere to the Central Electricity Authority’s guidelines for stocking of the dry fuel.