As India scrambles to overcome its worst power crisis in years, the government-owned coal mining and refining corporation Coal India, which accounts for 80 percent of country’s coal output, increased production by 27.2 percent in April, the federal coal ministry said.
Coal accounts for nearly 75 percent of India’s power generation and power plants account for more than three-fourths of the more than one billion tons of annual coal consumption.
According to the government officials, the production increase has forced the cancelation of hundreds of passenger trains in order to free up rail track to move coal.
“The government has decided to cancel … passenger trains in order to prioritize the movement of coal rakes [trains] across the country to deal with an unprecedented shortage of the vital input at thermal power plants,” the government said.
India has urged its states to step up coal imports for the next three years to build up inventories and satisfy demand, underscoring the severity of the crisis.
Coal inventories are at the lowest pre-summer levels in at least nine years and electricity demand is seen rising at the fastest pace in nearly four decades.
Federal government-run Indian Railways announced that it has cancelled 753 passenger train services as of now.
It did not elaborate on how long the train service would be cancelled or how commuters would manage without it.
According to the Indian Railways, it has loaded 427 trains with coal on Thursday, which is higher than its commitment of 415 trains per day on an average, but still lower than the requirement of 453 per day.
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