Indian Railways Failed To Meet Coal India Train Provision Targets For Over A Year: Report

New Delhi: The supply of trains by Indian Railways to Coal India for transportation of coal has fallen short of its monthly targets for more than a year, the government data showed.  This shortage in supply of trains has highighted the plight of India’s worst power crisis in over six years, reported news agecny Reuters. On the other hand, Indian utilities are struggling for coal supplies to cope with the rising power demand.

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In such a state, Indian Railways’ inability to supply enough trains poses difficultly in boosting coal stocks, which are already at their lowest levels in years.

What’s the status of Indian Railways train supplies?

Inventories at Indian power plants fell 13 per cent in April despite a 27.6 per cent growth in Coal India’s production after the power demand surged to record high due to heatwave. In April, state-run Indian Railways supplied 261 trains per day to Coal India for the power industry, the lowest in three months.

By the end of April, Indian Railways said it would cancel passenger trains to free up tracks and help to transport more coal to power plants. Coal, which accounts for more than half of Indian Railways’ freight revenue, makes up nearly 75 per cent of India’s power generation. State-run Coal India produces 80 per cent of India’s coal.

How are supply of train targets set?

The Indian Railways set their targets after deliberations with the federal power ministry and Coal India. With a view to avoid a power crisis Coal India has prioritised supply to utilities and its supplies to the non-power sector dropped to a six-month low of 304,933 tonnes per day in April, 21.3 per cent lower than the same period last year, based on government data, as per the report.

Supplies to the non-power sector including aluminium smelters and steel mills, were also affected by Indian Railways provisions of fewer trains. Coal India’s supplies to the non-power sector via Indian Railways fell to its lowest level in six months, the data showed. Officials from state-run aluminium producer NALCO filed a court case last month over a coal supply shortfall as a result of the diversion of coal supplies and a shortage of trains.

India’s non-power sector is forced to take expensive power from the national grid due to a shortage in supplies of coal to their power plants, observed industry officials in the report.

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