The long power cuts in several parts of the country are the result of an “artificial crsis” in the availability of coal and reflect the Narendra Modi government’s “misgovernance and mismanagement,” the Congress alleged on Friday.
In a Facebook post, former party president Rahul Gandhi said that on April 20, he had urged the Modi government to stop running the bulldozer of hatred and start power plants of the country.
“Today the coal and electricity crisis has created havoc in the entire country. I am saying again — This crisis will destroy small industries, due to which unemployment will increase further. Small children cannot stand this scorching heat. The lives of patients admitted in hospitals are at stake. There will be financial loss by stopping rail, metro services. Modi ji, do you not care about the country and the people,” asked Mr. Gandhi in the post.
Addressing a press conference, Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh said that as on Friday morning (10.45 a.m.) the demand for power was 16,035 MW but total power available for supply was only 2,304 MW and that too at ₹12 per MW. He said 16 States in the country are forced to have daily power cuts of up to 10 hours as power stations with 72,074 MW capacity are not operating due to non-availability of coal even though there is no shortage of it.
“Why are these power plants not operating? Why are States being forced to buy power at ₹12 per MW? Against the daily demand of 22 lakh tonnes of coal, why are only 16 lakh tonnes are being supplied.? What is the government’s plan to cater to the peak power demand and resolve the current power crisis,” asked Mr Vallabh.
“This power crisis is artificial and is due to the poor governance and poor management in coal distribution. This is purely misgovernance,” he added.
The Congress spokesperson claimed that of a total 173 power plants, 106 plants have less than 25% of their usual reserves and States are being forced to buy power at higher rates. Asserting that the Centre cannot run away from its responsibility, the Congress spokesperson the ministries of Power, Coal and Railways should jointly find a solution to the crisis.
“We demand that the artificial power crisis due to the mismanagement of coal supply is resolved soon,” he said, noting that even a State like Jharkhand, which has coal mines, is facing over 17.5% shortage of power.
Mr Vallabh said Rajasthan is facing power shortage of 9.6%, Uttar Pradesh 9%, Haryana 7.7% and Uttarakhand 7.6%. He said if the government is claiming that there is no shortage of coal in the country, then why are States like U.P. able to ensure supply of power for only four hours a day.