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26 thermal plants in Punjab grapple with coal shortage
Twenty-six thermal plants of the country are grappling with coal shortage with less than 4 days coal stock while in Punjab coal from PANEM mines has reached its thermal plants.

CENTRAL ELECTRICITY Authority (CEA) report of December 16 maintains that over a third of the ninety thermal power stations that are being monitored with total capacity of around 57000 MW are running at critical stock levels with coal stock of less than seven days. 26 plants worth nearly 36,000 MW capacities with less than 4 days stock are running practically from hand to mouth.

In Punjab, dwindling coal stocks at three thermal plants, which were a cause of worry for PSPCL, have been replenished after coal from PANEM mines reached its thermal plants. Eight coal rakes were received yesterday at Ropar thermal plant and six were received day before yesterday. The coal stock at plant is now sufficient for 8.4 days. At Lehra Mohabatt, coal stock is for 12 days while at Bhatinda, it will last for 14 days.

The coal shortage at many super thermal plants is also very critical. This includes 1320 MW Jhajjar thermal plant in Haryana where unit no. 2 is under forced outage due to coal shortage since November 14. At Jhajjar, coal stock is just sufficient for two days and at Panipat coal stock will last for four days. Coal stock at Khedar will last only seven days.

The other major super thermal plants with less than four days coal stock are Vindhyachal (3760 MW), Talcher S (3,000 MW),Sipat (2,980 MW), Korba (2,600 MW), Ramagundem (2,600 MW), Farakka (2,100 MW), Singrauli (2,000 MW) and Simhadri (2,000 MW).

According to CEA, inadequate coal supply from Coal India has been cited as one of the major reasons for the coal crunch facing the thermal sector. This irregular and short supply of coal has thus, forced several power stations to operate below their installed capacities.

On Tuesday, parliament was informed that ministry of coal is addressing the coal shortage issue by taking up the same with concerned authorities at state and central level on regular basis with a view to expedite pending clearances and also with ministry of railways regarding pending rail projects for coal evacuation.

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