Bhubaneswar: The Utkal Chamber of Commerce & Industry Ltd (UCCI) sought personal intervention of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to address the critical coal crisis being faced by the state’s coal industries.
The state’s booming industrial sector now stares at a possible shutdown if the precarious coal shortage is not addressed immediately through state intervention, the industry body said in a press statement.
In the letter, the UCCI requested the state government to urgently communicate with the Ministry of Coal to direct Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) and Coal India Limited (CIL) to step up the crucial supply of the material to the local industries in Odisha so that stocking out of coal is avoided and a safe level of coal stock is maintained in critical units to prevent any eventualities in operations.
Surprisingly, Odisha faces coal shortage despite its abundant coal reserves (about 25 per cent of the country’s deposits) and MCL producing about 150 million tonnes of coal.
In the current situation, over 65 per cent of Odisha’s coal is being supplied to power plants in other states while Odisha-based local industries are facing severe coal deficit and are being forced to import coal/power as they are getting less than 35 per cent of the state’s coal production, the letter read.
The coal supply shortage remains acute as Odisha-based power plants (15,000 MW) require 75-80 million ton coal per annum, which is 50 per cent of the state’s coal production for cost-effective sustainable industry operations.
“It is, thus, of utmost importance that Odisha’s coal requirements be met first before diversion of critical coal supply to other states. The state of Odisha needs to supply the coal produced within the state to cater to the requirement of local industries and enhance its global cost-competitiveness,” the UCCI said.
Odisha’s coal requirement must be met 100 per cent through self production of the state. This shall spur growth opportunities in the state by creating millions of jobs, huge revenue and development of thousands of MSMEs within the state, thus boosting the prosperity of its people.
This will also attract huge global investments for setting up large scale industries in Odisha. The current diversion of coal supply is depriving the state from domestic value addition while threatening local jobs and MSMEs within Odisha.
Importantly, the acute coal shortage in the state is jeopardising the manufacturing sector in the state, dampening its reputation among global investors, the UCCI warned.