Charges from Coal India Ltd (CIL) fell by more than a fifth in April, as the second wave of the pandemic left several contract workers grappling with the deadly infection.
The fuel levy for India’s largest coal miner fell to 54.13 million tonnes (mt) last month, from a target of 68.89 mt.
This drop in levies has led the Ministry of Coal to closely monitor the situation to ensure the availability of fossil fuel in thermal power plants in the country, given that coal is the mainstay of the electricity production mix in India.
“It is true that some of the contract workers involved in the levy were affected by the Covid,” a Coal India official said in an email response. “Supplies in April 21 could have been higher without the resurgence of the second wave of the Covid pandemic. But, despite the fact that April ’21 supplies were 3.3% higher than in April ‘ 19 without covid. Levy, ”added the official.
Coal India has a total of 259,000 employees and 83,000 contractors. The official said 5,470 employees and their families have been affected by the pandemic, in addition to 122 contract workers.
“On the back of a stock of coal of 99.33 tonnes, at the start of the fiscal year, CIL is ready to meet any surge in demand from the electricity sector,” he added.
Meanwhile, the company’s coal inventories also fell 12.21 mt in one month to 87.12 mt at the end of April, as the brakes in several states to contain the spread of the covid had an impact on coal withdrawals. “Coal supplies for thermal power projects have not been affected. We are monitoring the situation regularly, “one of the two officials quoted above said, requesting anonymity. Questions emailed to spokespersons for the coal and power ministries on Friday evening were not received. no response until press time.
India’s peak electricity demand fell during the first wave of covid-19 last year. However, demand had since picked up along with the recovery in economic activity.
India’s power generation capacity has also increased. Of the installed power generation capacity of 382.15 gigawatts (GW), coal-fired projects account for 53% or 202.67 GW.