While struggling hard to get water for its cooling towers, the Raichur Thermal Power Station (RTPS) is now facing another problem. It is finding difficulty in storing the coal in its possession.
RTPS requires 24,000 tonnes of coal every day for running its eight units (seven of which have an installed capacity of 210 MW, while the eighth unit has 250 MW capacity). It receives around seven rakes of coal (each rake contains around 3,200 tonnes) every day from Singareni Coal Mines, Andhra Pradesh; Mahanadi Coalfields in Talcher, Odisha; and Western Coalfields in Nagpur, Maharashtra. Keeping in mind the coal requirement of Yermarus Thermal Power Station (YTPS), which recently commenced operations, the Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL) had made arrangements for a couple of more coal rakes every day. The additional coal is being stored at RTPS coal yard as rail link is not yet established for YTPS.
However, with Krishna river and Basavasagara reservoir (Narayanpur Dam) almost drying up, the power station was forced to indefinitely shut down five of its eight units, resulting in lesser consumption of coal. But the number of coal rakes reaching the power station continues to be the same. This has resulted in a sharp increase in coal stock at the power station.
According to official sources, the RTPS coal yard is almost full with a stock of 6.80 lakh tonnes of coal and there is little space for further stock. The power station cannot ask coal providers to temporarily halt supply till the closed units resume operations as it would amount to breach of agreement.
The officials say that coal handling, particularly during summer, is a tiresome task as the coal tends to automatically catch fire as the temperature soars. Though coal yard staff continuously spray water on the coal stock, incidents of coal caching fire are often reported.
Since the Krishna river, Basavasagara reservoir and Googal barrage from where the water is pumped to RTPS are almost dry, the hope of resumption of closed power generating units in the near future is also bleak. Good monsoon after the summer might bring relief, hope officials.