India's Federal Power Minister Denies Claims That Delhi Might See a Blackout Amid Coal Crisis

© AP Photo / Manish SwarupNew Delhi, India
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India is facing an unprecedented power crisis as more than half of the country's 135 coal-fired power plants, which generate nearly 70% of the electricity, are running critically low on coal stocks. The Power Ministry has cited four reasons for the crisis, including increased power consumption and rising global coal prices.
R.K. Singh (BJP), India's federal minister for power, has clarified that there is no power shortage in Delhi. His assurances that coal supply will be maintained come amid claims by the Delhi government that the capital city might face a blackout after two days.
On Sunday, Singh addressed a press conference on a purported coal shortage, crisis claiming that there was no problem related to supply and demand channels that could pose the threat of a power crisis.

"The coal stock is being replenished every day. I am in touch with federal minister for coal and mines, Pralhad Joshi", Singh told journalists.

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Tata Power Delhi Distribution, which supplies power to large parts of Delhi, issued messages on Saturday asking citizens to use electricity "judiciously", citing rapidly depleting stocks of coal.
"I have warned Tata Power CEO of action if they send baseless messages to consumers that can create panic. This qualifies as acts of irresponsible behaviour", Singh added.
The statements of the energy minister came on the heels of the Delhi's chief, Arvind Kejriwal (AAP), warning of an impending blackout in the capital because the city's power stations have four days' worth of coal reserves.
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A day earlier, the AAP leader wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to make adequate arrangements for coal at power plants and gas at generation plants. He flagged concern that despite the norms of keeping coal reserves for 10 days at power stations, stocks were adequate for only a day or two in Delhi.
Several states, including Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Andhra Pradesh have begun imposing power cuts lasting over an hour amidst fears that these might have to be extended as the coal shortage becomes more severe.
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