Tribune News Service
Patiala, October 28
Punjab is staring at power shortage. All three thermal power plants owned by private players have exhausted their coal stock following the “rail roko” stir by farmers.
The Mansa-based Talwandi Sabo Power Limited has shut, Nabha Power Limited is expected to close by Thursday and the GVK’s 540-MW power plant at Goindwal Sahib is left with just two days of stock.
Ahead of the festival season, Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) is looking to buy power. Sources said 700 rakes of coal stationed in different parts of the country were waiting to be transported to Punjab.
“We are left with no option but to buy power from the central grid. We are banking on 700 MW of power bought by us to meet our everyday demand. In addition, we are paying the fixed charges to private thermal plants even though they have shut down production,” said a top PSPCL official.
The crisis deepened after the Railways suspended the movement of goods trains to Punjab in view of the stir till October 29. The state-owned Rupnagar and Lehra thermal plants are left with five-day stock but are currently shut as they are required to have coal in stock to meet any emergency. As against the demand for 1,100 lakh units of power, around 200 lakh units were purchased from the national grid by the PSPCL.
“The industry has finally started operating after the lockdown and any power pangs now will hit the state’s economy hard,” a senior power official said.
“The industry is now working overtime to meet the winter demand and the government must ensure enough coal so that the industry does not have to shut production,” he added.