India— About 20 years ago, when people talked about climate change, some other people just did not understand what this meant. But in the 21st century that is today, climate change has become the cause of the biggest challenge for human beings. Indiscriminate felling of trees [deforestation], drilling and blasting of mountains, and the continuous extraction of mineral resources have brought climate change to such a point where, if we do not desist from such exploitation of natural resources, we will end up being witness to the most extensive damage [to our environment]. Like in the current time, the record heat levels and power cuts in some parts of the country have become the biggest hardship for the people.
In northern and central India, in the month of April, the temperatures reached such highs that it became difficult for people to step out of their homes. Furthermore, their suffering increased twice as much due to electricity cuts lasting for several hours. At this time, people in different parts of the country have been discussing this problem on social media. Let’s try to understand more about the reasons behind this situation, and also find out more about the anger being expressed by people on social media.
High demand for electricity
Power cuts extending up to 10 hours have started in about 16 states of the country. According to government figures, there has been a reduction of 10,000 megawatts (15,000 units) in the country. On the other hand, the central government is also saying that the demand for electricity is at an “all-time high”. To speed up the supply of coal from the coal mines to the power plants, on Friday, 657 train journeys were canceled indefinitely. Yet even in this situation, when summer has arrived much earlier in the month of April and there is a heatwave descending from the skies, one-fourth of the power plants in the country are closed.
The coal shortage
Again and again for the past few days, and also last year, you would have heard that the electricity power plots have sufficient coal stores only for a few days. Last year when this news was aired in the capital Delhi, the Minister for PowerSatyendarJain had assured the public that there would be no power cuts. Yet once again in the month of April, besides in other states, the situation is also bad in the capital Delhi. So once again, the Minister for Power Satyendar Jain, in view of this, has written to the center with an appeal to ensure the availability of sufficient coal for the power plants supplying electricity to the capital. On the other hand, the Union Minister of Coal, Mines & Parliamentary Affairs, Pralhad Joshi, has assured the public that, “There is no need to panic. The thermal power plants have 21.5 million tonnes of coal reserve and we have 7-10 days stocks left. In addition, the stocks will be replenished daily.
Reason for the shortage of coal
According to reports, the Ministry of Coal has said that despite having sufficient reserves, our domestic coal production is not able to meet the demand for it. That is since the past few years coal has also had to be imported from neighboring countries even though India has good coal reserves. The main reason for this is that India has a limited supply of high-quality coal, which has a low ash content. Hence, the country has to import coal, especially low-ash coal, to meet the gap between demand and supply.
On the other hand, since last year, news about power cuts is being continuously reported. According to an article published in Down To Earth in October 2021, the government may well have tried to assure the public about the coal reserves, but the reality of the situation is somewhat different. According to the report, in September last year, coal mining and transport were adversely affected by heavy rains in the coal-producing states. The open cast mines were flooded with water. Also, compared with earlier, electricity consumption has also increased.
People express anger on social media
A user named Lally Gill from Barnala in Punjab commented that you are complaining about there being a power cut, but here we never have power.
Im from Barnala Punjab….aap baat krte ho kitni Bijali jati hai…jaha to Bijali atti hi nhi….Modi sarkar murdabad— Lally Gill (@LallyGill162) April 30, 2022
A user named Akash Anand tweeted, “Six months ago when this coal crisis came to the attention of the government, they denied it like for every crisis. Today, when there is coal left only for 1 or 2 days in some states, the state and central governments are again each trying to save their own self by blaming each other. Hey sirs, the people want a solution, not [empty] rhetoric.”
6 महीने पहले जब सरकार के सामने ये कोयले का संकट आया था तब हर संकट की तरह उसको नकार दिया गया था। आज जब किसी राज्य में एक तो किसी में 2 दिन का कोयला बचा है तो राज्य और केंद्र सरकारें फिर एक दूसरे पर आरोप लगा कर खुद को बचाने में लगी हैं। अरे जनाब, जनता को समाधान चाहिए बयानबाजी नहीं। https://t.co/qlWcbosecK— Akash Anand (@AnandAkash_BSP) April 29, 2022
KomalKaranwalwrote, “Earlier, electricity was supplied for 18 hours, now it is supplied for only for 15 hours. The country will not progress until the central government realizes its shame for playing the middleman for Ambani and Adani.”
18 hours electrical supply was being given in rural areas of Janpad Saharanpur..— Komal karanwal (@Komalkaranwal_) April 29, 2022
But it has been 15 hours since last 4 days. The country could not progress even after the central Government should be ashamed of Adani 'Ambani' brokered. @PMOIndia #UPCM@UPPCLLKO @aksharmaBharat