The Coal stocks with thermal plants belonging to
Tamil Nadu Power Generation and Distribution Corporation have touched a rock bottom
in the last few weeks since adequate ships are not available to transport them
from the ports in the East Coast.
About two lakh tons of coal belonging to TANGEDCO
(Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation) are awaiting to be loaded into ships at
Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Haldia ports but ships are not available to ferry
them to thermal plants in the state at Ennore and Tuticorin.
The state government owned Poompuhar Shipping
Corporation which has been ferrying coal from Bengal Bihar coal fields to ports
in Tamil Nadu to feed the thermal plants in the state for the past forty years
has been made sick by the electricity authorities by not taking steps to
replace the five decade old ships Tamil Anna and Periyar. Both the ships will
be put on hammer next year because of their age. The Corporation thereafter
will be without any ships and forced to shut down the operations.
The Tangedco authorities currently chartering a
dozen private vessels to carry coal to thermal plants will be totally dependent
on them for coal supplies. Taking advantage of the situation the private ship
operators will jack up the freight costs rates. Inspite of the odds, the state
electricity authorities are not convinced of the need to buy new vessels for
the shipping corporation.
Meanwhile the coal inventory position in thermal
plants of the state have become precarious in the last two months. Some of the
units are surviving on hand to mouth, with stocks that would last only for 24
hours. Coal movement to Paradip and Vizag was affected last month due to
flooding of mines caused by the South West monsoon. The state government has
favoured import of coal from Australia or Indonesia to tide over the situation
. The Central government is yet to give its nod for the proposal.