Pune, Apr 23 (IANS): Alarmed by the continuing power crisis and ongoing load-shedding in large parts of the state, the Maharashtra government plans to import coal and acquire a coal-mine from Chhattisgarh for power generation, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar said here on Friday.
Talking to media persons, he said coal is not being supplied in the country as per demand, forcing the state government to consider alternatives to bridge the gap of around 3,500 MW-4,000 MW shortfall between the demand-supply currently.
"A meeting to discuss the issue of load-shedding was held with Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. We will take a review of the power department every week on the load-shedding," Pawar said.
Last week, the state Cabinet authorised the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co Ltd to purchase power from elsewhere to tide over the current crisis.
Pawar reiterated that insufficient coal is being supplied to various states by the Centre, and even Maharashtra is not getting the required quantities, though all efforts are being made to ensure smooth power supply and end the ongoing power-cuts.
"Accordingly, the state has decided to make some imports from outside the country and also get a coal mine allocated to the Maharashtra State Power Generation Company in Chhattisgarh, for which Energy Minister Dr Nitin Raut is working," he said.
Last week, Raut had slammed the Centre for the poor management of coal supplies despite a sharp increase in electricity demand due to the summer heat and relaxation of Covid-19 curbs all over.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi government has assured that efforts are underway to normalise power supply and ease load-shedding as early as possible in the state.
The MEDCL has been permitted to procure electricity for a short period till June 15 until the power generation and power availability situation in the state can be restored.
According to officials, MSEDCL distributes 87 per cent of the total electricity consumption in the state, and the usage of power by the agricultural consumers has also increased since March 2022.
Due to hot summer, the highest demand of the state has reached 28,489 MW. This is an increase of 8.2 per cent over the previous year, but coal shortages have hampered efforts to boost the power generation.
Given this year's shortfall of around 3,500MW-4,000MW, it has resulted in several hours of blackouts both during day and night in large parts of the state, though Mumbai has been spared.