Bhubaneswar: With no respite in sight to the ongoing coal crisis that continues to affect the survival of the local industries, the Odisha Assembly of Small and Medium Enterprises (OASME) has written to the chief minister, Naveen Patnaik requesting his intervention in averting the impending crisis within the State and helping sustain industry operations. The shortage, a result of the intermittent coal supplies to Captive Power Plants (CPPs) based industries in Odisha, threatens the viability of industries that form the backbone of the State’s MSMEs and provide employment to lakhs.

In a letter to the chief minister, Satwik Swain, secretary general, OASME, said, “Despite the untiring efforts of the government to support the industry, the continuing coal shortage due to stoppage/curtailment of coal supplies and rakes has threatened the very survival of local industries with the risk of loss of lakhs of livelihood and closure of thousands of MSMEs in the state.”

The letter further highlights that despite the continuous efforts of the state government towards industrial development, the CPP-based industries in Orissa who are heavily dependent on coal as theirprimary raw material are unable to run smoothly due to the current situation. The letter further brings to attention that since August 2021, the CPPs are getting just 40-50% of the required coal supplies, creating a backlog of over 1500 coal rakes, since most of the available coal rakes are being diverted away from CPPs. This struggle to receive uninterrupted coal supplies for continued operations has brought down the industry to a standstill and left with no time to devise any mitigation plan to continue sustainable operations. Due to the aforesaid reason, the operational power plants are forced to operate at reduced power generation levels, creating a huge risk of closure of the plant.

Highlighting the natural advantagesenjoyed by the state, the spokesperson said, “Odisha holds 25% of the total coal deposit of the country. Out of the 150 million tons of coal produced through Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCA), 65% is being transferred to otherstates and only 35% is reserved for Orissa industries, against the actualminimum requirement of 55% for local CPPs.”He further added,“Such acute shortage is creating a dangerous situation for the manufacturing sector, threatening the shutdown of MSMEs, leaving the state deprived of domestic value addition along and a bad impact on the global investment.”

Seeking government supportin this matter of critical importance, the OASME secretary general requested the chief minister’s personal intervention to help normalise the situation. Prompt action needed to be taken for the immediate resumption of coal and rake supplies from MCA, to help meet 100% coal requirement of the local CPP-based industries of Orissa. The timely action could be in the greater interest of thousands of MSMEs and savelakhs of people from the loss of employment and livelihoods.