Coal Imports Fell, Output Rose In 2021-22, Yet States Faced Power Crisis
Despite the fact that during the September-October period of 2021, several states were staring at a possibility of blackouts due to severe shortage of coal supply, between April 2021-January 2022, dry fuel imports had decreased to the level of 173.32 million tonnes as compared to 180.56 million tonnes during the corresponding period of previous year, even as production was robust.
According to official data of the Coal Ministry, during the same April 2021-January 2022 period, coal import by the power sector had fell to 22.73 million tonnes as compared to 39.01 million tonnes during the corresponding period of last year.
Reduction in imports showed that the country had adequate supply of domestic coal, as its output has been record breaking.
Earlier this month, Coal India Limited, which is the largest supplier of dry fuel in the country, had said in a statement that 2021-22 has turned out to be a high-performance year for it with a flurry of previous records bettered.
CIL had said that it is trying to touch the 670 million tonnes production target in the current fiscal.
Yet during September and October months of 2021, as many as five states namely Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi and Tamil Nadu were facing acute shortage of coal and were resorting to scheduled power cuts to avoid the possibility of blackouts.
In addition to this, several power stations were left with the supply of only two days of dry fuel, when under normal circumstances, this stock is of up to 15 days.
The shortage of coal during that period was because of heavy rains witnessed in coal bearing areas in September 2021, which hampered its movement to power generation units, thus affecting power supply in these states.
Also, unprecedented increase in prices of imported coal had led to substantial reduction in power generation from imported coal based power plants.
This is the reason when during the current fiscal, record coal production and sharp reduction in its import was seen, major states facing power shortage had come as a jolt.
Meanwhile coal import by the power sector declined from 69.22 million tonnes in 2019-20 to 45.47 million tonnes in 2020-21, as per official data.
The share of dry fuel supply by Coal India Limited, which was around 60.8 per cent of total consumption of coal in 2019-20, increased to 63.3 per cent in 2020-21 and further to 64.3 per cent in 2021-22 (April- January 2022).
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