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India: Power Ministry warns of massive 50 MT coal shortage in 2-3 yrs

New Delhi, Oct 31 (PTI) The Power Ministry has warned of a massive 50 million tonne coal shortage in the next two-three years that could trigger a major crisis in the crucial infrastructure sector even if new capacity addition target of 41,000 MW during the 10th Plan is met.
"There will be a crisis at the end of 10th Plan when full capacity target is achieved as the gap between demand and supply could be of over 50 million tonnes," the Ministry said in a presentation to the Planning Commission.

The Ministry said that many new power plants may not get coal supply and it estimated that on an average 11 million tonnes of coal would have to be imported by power utilities every year during the remaining period of the 10th Plan.

One can imagine the impact of such a situation from the fact that in January-February alone this year, the country lost 226 million units of electricity. Central power stations reported 203 million units loss of generation while the state utilities lost 23.52 million units due to coal shortage.

Coal consumption during the last three years has exceeded the supply to power stations leading to a depletion of coal stocks from being sufficient for 22 days in 2001-02 to 11 in the last fiscal.

The Ministry is also concerned about gas shortage for various existing and new plants. Fuel linkage by central power projects is available for only 12.99 mmscmd as against a demand of 16 mmscmd. The average supply is still short at 10 mmscmd, the Ministry said.

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