Indian Railways has canceled 753 passenger train services to make room for coal imports amid energy crisis.
India has increased coal production and canceled passenger trains to free up rail lines to move it, officials said, as the government struggles to get over the worst. power crisis in years.
State-owned Coal India, which accounts for 80 percent of India’s coal output, increased output by 27.2 percent in April, the federal coal ministry said on Friday. The federally run Indian Railways has canceled 753 passenger train services, the government said.
India has urged its states to increase coal imports over the next three years to build up inventories and meet demand, Reuters reported on Wednesday, underscoring the severity of the crisis.
Coal inventories are at their lowest pre-summer levels in at least nine years and electricity demand is forecast to rise at the fastest rate in nearly four decades.
“The government has decided to cancel… passenger trains to prioritize the movement of coal rakes [trains] throughout the country to deal with an unprecedented shortage of the vital input in thermal power plants,” the government said.
He did not say how long train service would be canceled or how travelers would manage without it.
Coal accounts for nearly 75 percent of India’s power generation and power plants account for more than three-quarters of the more than 1 billion tonnes of annual coal consumption.
Indian Railways loaded 427 trains with coal on Thursday, the government said. That is higher than its commitment of 415 trains per day on average, but still lower than the 453 per day requirement.
India’s energy secretary said in a court-ordered meeting on Tuesday that the Railways were supplying 390 trains a day on average, 14 percent less than demand and 6 percent less than the Railways’ own commitment.