Claiming that the grim power situation across the country would ease by Diwali, Union Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said on Friday that directions had been issued to generation companies with surplus coal to supply them to feedstock-starved units.

The Power Ministry is taking all steps to resolve the crisis and was in constant touch with the Ministry of Coal and the Railways in this regard, Mr. Shinde told journalists here.

The situation was improving and it was hoped that by Diwali things it would be almost back to normal. “Diwali will be celebrated with light. The power situation is expected to improve in the next one week.

“We have transferred some coal from one unit or plant to another, wherever required. There are problems of supply of coal and we are in touch with the Coal Ministry. Since the mines in Orissa are flooded, coal could not be supplied to the power plants. Now, the situation is improving.”

At present, over 40 thermal power projects in the country have coal stock sufficient for less than a week. Twenty-nine of them are facing an acute fuel shortage with less than four days' coal stock.

The Coal Ministry has assured the Power Ministry that it would make efforts to supply more coal through the electronic auction route to the country's largest power producer NTPC, whose generation had been hit due to an acute shortage of the dry fuel. “E-auction is not the solution to the problem,'' he said.

Five NTPC plants had coal for just a day or two. The NTPC's 13-day coal reserves of 5.3 tonnes were depleted and supply from the Coal India Limited (CIL) for power plants was down to just 20 per cent.

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