Bhubaneswar: The CII Odisha State Council chairman, Manish Kharbanda, has sought the intervention of Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik for robust coal supply chain management for State industries.

Kharbanda in a letter to the chief minister has said, ” The ongoing coal crisis in Odisha continues to affect the survival of the State-based industries. The CII request your 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 industrial ecosystem and provide employment to lakhs. Despite the continuous efforts of the State government towards industrial development, the CPP-based industries in Odisha who are heavily dependent on coal as their primary raw material are unable to run smoothly due to the current situation. The situation has further worsened since August 2021 with the CPPs getting less than 40-50% of the required coal supplies, creating a backlog of over 1500 coal rakes while 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.

Being a mineral rich state, Odisha holds 25% of the total coal deposit of the country. Out of the 150 million tons of coal produced through Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL), 65% is being transferred to other States and only 35% is reserved for Odisha industries, against the actual minimum requirement of 55% for local CPPs. Such acute shortage is creating a dangerous situation for the manufacturing sector, threatening the shutdown of 10971MW (source: Odisha Economic Survey FY20-21) leaving the State deprived of domestic value addition along with severe impact on the global investment.

The CII chairman has sought the chief minister’s support in this matter of critical importance to help normalise the situation through timely action for the immediate resumption of coal and rake supplies from MCL, to help meet 100% coal requirement of the local CPP-based industries of Odisha.