Bhubaneswar: Utkal Chamber of Commerce & Industries (UCCI) , an apex industries body of Odisha, has cried that an alarming situation has araised due to critical coal shortage for local industries in Odisha. It has sought the intervention of the chief minister of Odisha for immediate resumption of coal supplies to prevent shut down of State industries and enable maintaining sustainable industry operations

UCCI, in a letter to the CM, has said, “The continued coal shortage due to stoppage / curtailment of coal supplies and rakes has threatened the very survival of local industry with risk of loss of lakhs of livelihood and closure of thousands of SMEs in the state. The Captive Power Plants (CPP) based industries in Odisha are facing alarmingly depleted coal stocks of only 2 – 3 days as compared to the prescribed level of 15 days, while the Power Sector situation has now drastically improved with 9-10 days coal stocks currently. Since August, 2021, the CPPs are struggling to get un-interrupted coal supplies for continued operations, and getting just 40 – 50% of required coal supplies with a backlog of over 1500 coal rakes as most of the available coal and rakes are being diverted away from CPPs. This has brought down the industry to a standstill and left with no time to devise any mitigation plan to continue sustainable operations. The operational Power Plants are forced to operate at reduced power generation with huge risk of plant closure. This situation has brought the CPP based industries and MSMEs to a grinding halt and resulting in increased prices of finished products which will further burden the end consumers.”

“The State of Odisha is blessed with abundant coal reserves (~25% of country deposits), and produces ~150 million tons of coal through Coal India subsidiary Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL). The assured coal supply for local industry has encouraged huge investments in the state to set up large scale manufacturing plants and industrial clusters with hundreds of MSMEs. Odisha based local Power Plants (15000 MW) require ~85 million tons’ coal per annum, which is just ~55% of Odisha’s coal production for sustainable industry operations. Whereas, in the current situation as over 65% of Odisha’s coal is being supplied to Power Plants based in other states, the Odisha based local industries are facing coal deficit and forced to import Coal / Power as they are getting less just ~35% of Odisha’s coal production. This is depriving the State from domestic value addition and from creating local jobs and MSMEs. Also the acute coal shortage in the state is jeopardizing the manufacturing sector and further hurting the sentiments of global iinvestors.”

The UCCI said, “The local industry cannot survive with this prevailing situation without the government support for normalizing uninterrupted supplies of coal produced within the State for economically viable and sustainable industry operations. The State’s booming manufacturing sector stares at a possible derailment if the present situation is not addressed immediately and may lead to an irrevocable collateral damage of Aluminium industry. Further, this will add up to the loss of employment for over one million people, closure of ancillary industries and MSMEs, loss of revenue & state exchequer accounting to over Rs 15,000 Crore and Forex loss due to loss of exports, and further hurting the sentiments of global investors.”