Fewer power cuts are likely in India this summer after a surge in output at Coal India helped generators amass record stocks, a turnaround for Narendra Modi who had to battle a power crisis within months of becoming prime minister last May.
Fast-track mine approvals, tighter production oversight and more flexibility in coal sales have helped power station stocks recover from a six-year low hit in October, vindicating Modi’s pitch to voters as the state leader who brought round-the-clock power to industrial Gujarat.
As Modi prepares to mark his first year in office and seeks to fulfil a poll promise to provide power to all of India’s 1.2 billion people by 2019, power stations hold 28 million tonnes of coal, a 38 percent jump from a year ago, government data shows.
“The situation is improving,” said K. Raja Gopal, head of the thermal power business at construction, power and real estate conglomerate Lanco Infratech, pointing to recent growth in Coal India output. “More needs to be done but 8 to 9 percent didn’t happen before.”