Centre of Indian Trade Unions condemns the deplorable attempts to create an artificial coal and power sector crisis. CITU demands that the government of India should come out with the facts about why shortage of coal is being reported in spite of record coal production in this quarter. Coal India registered record production and dispatch in the April – September 2O2I quarter.
Some quarters with vested interests, obviously with the full connivance of the B.IP government, have created the power crisis. Central ElectricityAuthority (CEA) nonns for thermal power stations clearly mandate them to maintain at least 20 days of stock. Most of the power houses did not comply with these norms. Why did the power sector lift much less than their desired quantity of coal during this period? It is obviously a failure at the policy and monitoring level.
The government of India is accountable for it. The recorded statement of the chairman of Coal India Limited (CIL) says, ‘subsidiaries of CIL have been forced to reduce the pace of coal production’, considering the lower
demand of coal. He argued that if heavy coal stock is piled up for a considerable period of time, it may turn into ash and become useless. This says volumes about how this artificial crisis is created. CIL, SCCL and other captive mines are meeting the daily total coal requirement of the power plants at 18.4 lakh tonnes. At present the coal stock at the plant level is sufficient for 3-5 days requirement and at CIL end adequate coal stocks for 23 days consumption by the power houses are available.
The recent crisis has its genesis in the international coal prices, import of coal and the profiteering of power giants Tata and Adani. The price of coal internationally, especially, Indonesia’s coal,mostly imported by India, rose from USD 60 to USD 240 within 30 days. The Adani and Tata power stations in Gujarat coastal areas as well as some other plants use imported coal. Tata and Adani demanded increase in the rates of the earlier power purchase agreements and completely stopped production from the third week of September on the plea that they were incurring losses because of the hike in international coal price.
It is also learned that the government of India under the national tariff policy already allowed these private players to increase the prices from Rs.9 to Rs.21 per unit. It is likely to increase further on the pretext of the power crisis.
It is thus clear that the present coal crisis is nothing but an artificial creation by the corporates for their long and short term profiteering. If not fought against by the people, it will only accelerate the process of selling off the power sector PSUs for a song to these very corporates. It also smacks of a conspiracy to sell of CIL blaming it for the shortage of coal production.
While demanding the government to stop playing at the hands of the corporates CITU calls upon its affiliates and working class of the country to expose the corporate government nexus and be prepared for intensified struggles against such nefarious designs of privatisation such as the National Monetisation Pipeline.