New Delhi: Amid rising power demand and shortage of coal in various parts of the country, the government on Friday decided to cancel as many as 657 mail, express and passenger train services to ensure priority routes for coal wagons and faster turnaround.
A total of 533 coal rakes were put on duty. For the power sector, 427 rakes were loaded yesterday out of which 1.62 million tonnes were loaded for power sector.
Government has decided to cancel 657 Mail/Exp/Passenger train services to ensure priority routes for coal wagons and faster turnaround. A total of 533 coal rakes put on duty. For the power sector, 427 rakes loaded yesterday. 1.62 million tonnes loaded for power sector. pic.twitter.com/UbCho8Tzsi
— ANI (@ANI) April 29, 2022
Earlier it was reported that at least 42 passenger trains have been cancelled across India to enable speedier movement of coal carriages in order to address significantly low inventories at power plants in the midst of blackouts and outages in various states.
These trains have been cancelled indefinitely, according to Railways authorities, as coal stockpiles in thermal power plants are fast diminishing.
According to authorities, the Railways is attempting to take “war-footing” actions to carry coal while also reducing the time it takes to transport coal to power plants.
According to a CNBC-TV18 report, about 657 passenger trains—500 postal and express trains, as well as 148 passenger trains—are scheduled to be cancelled in order to prioritise the passage of coal rakes.
Meanwhile, Delhi power minister Satyendar Jain warned that critical power plants had less than a day’s supply of coal, which might create blackouts and disrupt critical services such as the metro and hospitals.
“The situation in entire India is dire. We have to collectively come up with a solution soon. Solid steps are immediately needed to resolve this situation,” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.
In the midst of an unprecedented heatwave, blackouts and power outages have disrupted life and industry in numerous parts of India.
Coal reserves at India’s power plants have fallen nearly 17 per cent since the beginning of this month, and are now only a third of what is needed.
Following the warmest March on record, large swathes of the country are still experiencing excessive heat in April, driving up electricity consumption to an all-time high.
The country’s entire electricity shortfall has surpassed 623 million units, exceeding the total shortage in March.
Low stocks of coal, the fossil fuel that generates 70% of India’s energy, are at the core of the crisis.
While the government claims there is enough coal to fulfil demand, the restricted availability of railway rakes to carry coal has resulted in coal stockpiles being at their lowest pre-summer levels in at least nine years.
In addition, with international energy prices skyrocketing as a result of the Ukraine conflict, coal imports have fallen.