As a ‘fall back’ arrangement, Karnataka has decided to import coal to tide over the prevailing crisis.
Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Thursday said that a decision had been taken to import 5 lakh MT of coal. He was addressing the media after chairing a review meeting with Energy department officials and also the Karnataka Power Corporation Ltd (KPCL) on the power situation.
“A decision to import coal was taken during the KPCL board meeting on Thursday. The government has also decided to float short-term tenders to purchase coal till April,” he added.
Officials, however, told DH that the said quantum of coal would in no way be sufficient to make up for the severe shortage of the fossil fuel.
The state requires at least 15 lakh Metric Tonne (MT) of coal a month to fire up the three thermal stations - Raichur Thermal Power Station (RTPS), Bellary Thermal Power Station (BTPS) and Yeramarus Thermal Power Station (YTPS).
“There was no need to import the said quantum (5 lakh MT) of coal at this juncture, as it will not even bring temporary reprieve. For, even if the tenders are floated at the earliest, we will receive the supply in the next two months. Moreover, the imported coal will have to be blended with the domestic coal,” said officials.
The department will be floating global tenders by next week.
Karnataka receives coal from three Coal India Ltd (CIL) companies - Western Coalfields Ltd (WCL), Singareni Collieries Coalfields Ltd (SCCL) and Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL).
However, for the past several months, the state has not been receiving the required quantity of coal from WCL, which had hit the RTPS badly.
Reiterating that there would be no load shedding owing to coal shortage, Kumaraswamy said that he had given ‘strict orders’ to the Escoms not to resort to power cuts.
He, however, admitted that there was a shortfall of around 400 MW.
“During the day, there is no problem. But between 5 pm to 10 pm, there is a shortfall of 300 to 400 MW. We have taken alternative remedies to ensure that the consumer is not inconvenienced,” he added.
Kumaraswamy said that the Centre had assured to allocate coal as per the agreement. “A letter has been sent to Union Coal Minister Piyush Goyal in this regard and Chief Secretary is in constant touch with the officials at the Ministry of Coal. The Ministry has promised to provide coal as soon as possible,” he said.
The chief minister also said that the government was in talks with the Railway Ministry to ensure timely supply of coal to the state.