The county is headed towards a breakdown on the electricity front due to the Centre’s failure to transport the required coal from the mines to the power-generation stations, the Congress said on Friday. It said already 16 states are experiencing power cuts of about 10 hours daily, affecting the domestic consumers and industrial units alike, and that this is likely to worsen in the coming months when the summer peaks.
Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot termed the situation a “national crisis” and said the demand for electricity has increased in 16 states due to the rising mercury levels and that coal is not being supplied according to the requirement. He urged the people of Rajasthan to rationalise the usage of electricity.
“This is a national crisis. I appeal to everyone to unite in this crisis and support the (state) government in improving the situation. Turn off non-essential electrical appliances at your home or workplace. Set your priorities and use electricity in accordance with your needs,” Gehlot said in a tweet in Hindi, even as he accused the BJP of playing politics over the issue.
The All India Congress Committee devoted the media briefing to the coal supply shortage and spokesperson Gaurav Vallabh cited official data to explain the situation. “On Friday morning at 10:45 am, the demand of electricity in the energy exchanges was 16,035 MW and the supply of electricity in these exchanges was only 2,304 MW and that too at Rs 12 per unit megawatt. This is because 72,074 MW capacity plants are right now not operating because they are not having the appropriate amount of coal.”
Meanwhile, the Centre and BJP are blaming it on the state governments’ mismanagement. Union power minister RK Singh on Thursday had told media persons that the states complaining have huge pending bills and instead of buying power they are resorting to load shedding.
He added that power is available at the rate of Rs 12 per unit at the power exchanges but none of the states are buying it. He also said that there is enough fuel to run power plants.
Union coal minister Prahlad Joshi was in Jharkhand for a two-day trip starting on Thursday. He said coal is not responsible for the power shortage and it is due to rising prices of other fuel and imported coal. Jharkhand is facing the maximum power shortage of 17 per cent and the state BJP unit is putting the blame on the state government. “This is a complete failure of the state government that today Jharkhand is the most power deficit state of the country,” Deepak Prakash, Jharkhand BJP president told ET.