Odisha industries risk shut down amid coal supply shortage: Utkal Chamber of Commerce

 

Bhubaneswar : In the face of the alarming coal shortage, Utkal Chamber of Commerce & Industry Ltd has written to the Chief Minister of Odisha requesting immediate action to address the critical coal crisis being faced by local industries in Odisha. 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 letter requested the Govt. of Odisha to communicate to the Ministry of Coal urgently to direct Mahanadi Coalfields Limited and Coal India Limited to step up the crucial supply of coal to local industries in the state so that stock out of coal is obviated and safe level of coal stock is maintained in critical units to prevent any eventualities in operations.

Surprisingly, Odisha faces the coal shortage despite its abundant coal reserves (~25% of country deposits), and CIL subsidiary Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL) produced ~150 million tons of coal. In the current situation over 65% of Odisha’s coal is being supplied to Power Plants based in other states while Odisha based local industries are facing a severe coal deficit and forced to import Coal / Power as they are getting less than ~35% of Odisha’s coal production. The coal supply shortage remains acute as Odisha based Power Plants (15000 MW) require 75-80 million tons’ coal per annum, which is ~50% of Odisha’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. Thestate of Odisha needs to supply the coal produced within the State to cater to the requirement of local industry and enhance its global cost-competitiveness. Odisha’s coal requirements must be met 100% through self-production of the state. This shall spur growth opportunities in the State by creating millions of jobs and huge revenue and development of thousands of MSMEs within the state thus boosting the prosperity of State and 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 and threatening local jobs and MSMEs within Odisha. Importantly, the acute coal shortage in the state is jeopardizing the manufacturing sector in the State, dampening its reputation in among global investors.