Centre asks CIL to make ‘out-of-turn’ allotment to PSUs; private firms miffed

At a time when private and captive power producers are demanding an assured coal supply, the Centre has asked state-run Coal India Ltd (CIL) to make “out-of-turn” allotment of scarce coal to central and state electricity generation companies.

The order follows the May 18 decision of the railway ministry to accept the request of the power ministry, wherein the latter had asked to give higher priority in coal supply to power producers (i.e. plants run by government company or private company). This decision has been strongly opposed by captive power producers of private companies as they “are already struggling with coal shortage”.

In a May 24 letter to CIL, the coal ministry stated that there may be an increased demand for coal due to a surge in demand during peak summer. Power generation in April, it said, “has been more than the programmed generation and this, in turn, may lead to a more than anticipated increase in demand of coal from the power sector.”

The ministry added in its letter: “In order to avoid possible shortage of coal at thermal power plants, it has been decided that wherever it is operationally feasible based on various factors like coal stock availability, where suitable transport arrangements are in place etc, out-of-turn coal allotment may be made to state and central PSU (public sector unit) gencos (generation companies) to meet the surged coal requirement for power generation.”

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