The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Power scare for coal crisis

Calcutta/Durgapur, Aug. 8: A severe power shortage is li-kely to plague the state through next week, triggered by the dwindling supply of coal from Eastern Coalfields pits in the Durgapur-Asansol belt.

Officials of the Power Development Corporation, which is in charge of generation by state-run power plants, said the supply of coal from ECL’s Sonepur Bazari and Pandaveswar open cast mines has gone down by about 10,000 tonnes a day over the past four days.

“We have about three to for days’ stock of coal at Bakreswar, Kolaghat and Santaldih. Generation has already been cut by about 300MW. If the situation does not normalise in the next three-four days, we will have to cut down generation further and that might lead to widespread power cuts,” said Power Development Corporation MD S. Mahapatra.

The Bandel power plant, however, is not facing a problem as the coal there arrives from Orissa’s Mahananda Coalfields and Bengal Emta in Asansol’s Jamuria.

ECL said raising coal from the mines in Durgapur and Asansol had become difficult because of heavy rain in July. “Many of the pits are filled with water and the amount of coal raised has dropped by about 80 per cent,” said an official.

The water is being pumped out. “We expect the situation to be normal in the next seven days,” the official added.

The West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company said power cuts would be inevitable if the plants scaled down generation.

The combined shortfall in CESC and state board areas rose to nearly 500MW today as the National Thermal Power Corporation shut down a 200MW unit in Farakka.

“If the Power Development Corporation cuts down generation, the situation will worsen,” said M.K. Roy, the director (commercial) of the State Electricity Distribution Company.

A 200MW hydro-electricity project in Purulia has started generation from late July. “If the project was delayed, the shortfall could have been close to 700MW,” an official said.

Coal shortage today forced Bakreswar to generate only 480MW, 150 less than the usual. Kolaghat generated 900MW, about 70MW less.

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