Govt promises 24×7 power supply to all citizens: Piyush Goyal
Stating that they had inherited a ‘crisis ridden power sector’ from the previous government, Minister of State (Independent Charge), Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy, Piyush Goyal, on Sunday said they are working towards correcting the situation to ensure 24×7 power supply to all citizens in the next few years.
While speaking at a conference to present the 100-day report card of the new Narendra Modi government for the sectors, the Minister denied there is low supply of coal and said coal-based power production has risen by 21.4 per cent in the last three months.
“There is no coal supply shortage…The fact that coal production was practically stagnant in the last four years is what I have inherited. I cannot increase coal production in 100 days… but using the available resources we have increased coal-based electricity generation by 21.4 per cent in June-August period over the corresponding period in 2013,” he said.
The minister reiterated that the government was committed to bring about a transformative change in the power sector and ensure affordable 24×7 power for all homes, industrial & commercial establishments and adequate power for farms, in the next few years.
He added that in effort to ensure adequate supply of coal for power plants, state-owned Coal India Ltd has set a target of 1 billion tonne of coal production by 2019, from current levels of 500 million tonne.
Presently, India’s dependency on coal for power generation is about 60 per cent.
Additionally, the government is expediting completion of three critical rail lines (at Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha) which are likely to help increase output by 60 million tonne per annum by 2017-18 and up to 200 million tonne MT by 2021-22.
The minister further informed that CIL has taken in principle decision to purchase 250 additional rakes (for Rs 5,000 crore) to evacuate more coal, primarily to power plants. The government has also invested Rs 7,000 crore in power grid security in states.
Meanwhile, reacting on Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan’s remarks blaming the Centre for the worsening power crisis in the state, Mr. Goyal said, “These are absolutely baseless allegations. The fact is since I have become the Power Minister, I have been reaching out to Maharashtra CM, he must have been busy, hence was not able to give me time. As of today, we have no requests pending from Maharashtra.” He added that the Centre is working with the state governments and have so far met with 18 officials.