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Subadh Kumar Nayak

Bhubaneswar: Even as normalcy has been restored in coal mining operations at Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) units including one at Bharatpur after 14 days of agitation where a landslide mishap claimed 4 lives and injured 9 others, Odisha continues to face acute crunch in power generation. The development has forced the State government to buy electricity from spot market at high price to meet its demand during the peak hour.

According to reports, the State government is buying around 1,000 MW from spot market which costs around approximately Rs 12 to16 crore each day.

It may be noted that Talcher Thermal Power Station (TTPS) and Super Thermal Power Station (STPS) units of National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) had to face nearly two weeks of deficit power generation due to shortage of coal supply from the MCL mines.

Though the 14-day-long agitation was withdrawn on Augusts 6 followed by subsequent restoration in coal supply, the power production is yet to be normalised. At present while the State needs around 4000 MW electricity during the peak hour, it gets only around 3000 MW from its different thermal and hydro power stations.

Sources said that currently, NTPC produces only 350 MW of electricity instead of 900 MW and TTPS produces only 110 MW instead of 460 MW. The reduced power generation rate has forced the state government to buy 1,000 MW from spot market at the Energy Exchange price of Rs 4.50 per unit.

State Energy Minister Dibya Shankar Mishra said, “The plants of the NTPC which were affected due to shortage of coals have become functional now. Situation is gradually improving. We are spending around Rs 16 crore to buy electricity every day. The government is taking all possible steps to provide electricity to every consumer in the State.”

Meanwhile, the opposition parties have come down heavily on the State government alleging its mismanagement as the main reason behind State's struggle in power generation sector.

“There is no reason why State like Odisha should suffer from power shortage as there are several hydro and thermal power projects in the State. We are witnessing power crunch only due to mismanagement. Power is being stolen, besides everyone should come forward to conserve the electricity like putting off lights in the streets during the day. New hydroelectric projects also can be set up in the State,” said Union Minister Pratap Sarangi.

Likewise, senior Congress leader Narasingha Mishra said, “The State government always gives false reports on electricity distribution. The reality varies from the Odisha government’s reports.”

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