Power crisis: To ramp up coal supply, Indian Railways cancels over 650 trains
Several parts of the country have been facing rampant power outages and the situation gets even worse coupled with the rising temperatures. To bring the power crisis under control, Indian Railways has cancelled over 650 trains to ensure faster supply of coal to power plants.
The sudden spike in coal demand is due to the increase in electricity demand which has forced Railway to cancel around 16 mail/express and passenger trains daily in the past couple of weeks to make more way for rakes carrying coal.
Additionally, the railway ministry has notified the cancellation of nearly 657 trips of mail and passenger trains till May 24. Over 500 of these trips are for long distance mail and express trains, while 148 trips for passenger rails. With this, the national transporter has raised the average daily loading of coal rakes to over 400, the highest ever in 5 years.
In a joint meet of with Railway ministry and Power ministry, the Coal ministry had requested Railway to run 422 coal rakes daily to meet the present demand. Railways vowed to give 415 coal rakes daily, however, only 410 rakes are being operated on a daily basis.
Each rake would take about 3,500 tonnes of coal, according to sources quoted by ToI.
In view of the power crisis situation in the country, this is likely to continue for 2 more months to improve the coal stocks at power plants. "There are protests against cancellation of passenger trains in different states, but we have no option left with us as the immediate need is to ensure that there is no coal shortage at power plants and there is no blackout. It's a catch 22 situation for us,” ToI quoted a railway ministry official as saying.
70 per cent of India’s electricity demand is fulfilled through coal. To ensure there’s no hinderance in the supply of coal, the national transporter has also imposed loading restrictions for rails and parcels on select routes.