Coal crisis may have slightly eased in the past couple of days but the challenge to keep the power plants running still remains a major concern. Out of the units producing 2,800 MW that were shut down due to lack of coal, 600 MW has been made operational on Sunday.
The marginal improvement comes after the state generator (RVUNL) paid coal suppliers Coal India Ltd and PKCL Rs 475 crore and Rs 1,375 crore respectively. In fact, discoms, which owe Rajasthan Vidyut Utpadan Nigam Ltd (RVUNL) Rs 29,000 crore, paid the latter Rs 2,700 crore a few days ago.
But sources in the energy department said the 1,500MW Suratgarh power plant and 600MW Kalisindh plant remains shut due to non-availability of coal. While non-payment of dues has been a major reason for coal not being supplied to these plants, the rains are also partly responsible.
The thermal power plants in Rajasthan require 15-16 rakes of coal every day against which supplies have reached about 10-11 rakes. One rake contains 4000 tonne. Even if the plants get 15 rakes day, the situation will be hand-to-mouth. For maintaining a stock, the plans need to get 18-20 rakes a day consistently for 15-20 days.