The coal and power Tango


The coal and power Tango

This story is probably apocryphal but worth retelling. PM Jawaharlal Nehru was visiting a coal mine in Bihar. He was told mining activity was down. When he asked why, he was told it was because there were not enough train wagons to carry the coal from the mine to the factory.

Why not enough wagons? Because there wasn’t enough steel being produced to make wagons. That’s because the steel factories did not have enough power production to operate their factories at full capacity. Exasperated, Nehru asked, and why is there not enough power production? Because there wasn’t enough coal to feed the power plants!

We have come a long way from that, and the steel sector is booming these days. Even the steel plants in the bankruptcy process are being gobbled up by enthusiastic bidders.

But the coal and thermal power sectors continue to be plagued by shortages, logistics bottlenecks and the occasional policy inconsistency. The power sector situation is especially grim. Read  More

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