October 07

Govt launches portal for improving coal supply coordination to power plants

New Delhi: The government on Thursday launched a portal for transparency and better coordination among stakeholders, including Coal India Ltd, Indian Railways, power utilities and, ministries of coal and power, for coal supplies to power plants. Union Ministers R K Singh and Pralhad Joshi launched the portal, namely 'PRAKASH', which stands for 'Power Rail Koyla Availability through Supply Harmony'.

This is an important step in ensuring adequate availability of optimum utilization of coal at thermal power plants.

On this occasion, Joshi said this portal will help us ensure that supply harmony is assured from the coal ministry.

He also said that this year after the rainy season, coal stocks are higher at 17 million tonne as compared with over 11 million tonne last year due to work done by the ministry in this direction.

He also said coal production has increased 165 million tonnes in the past five years.

Singh said, "The portal will help us plan things better and it would lead to optimum utilization of resources (fuel, rakes, railways)."

The portal is designed to help in mapping and monitoring the entire coal supply chain for power plants -- coal stock at supply end (mines), coal quantities or rakes planned, coal quantity in transit and coal availability at power generating station.

The portal makes available valuable information on a single platform, which will help coal companies track stocks and coal requirements at power stations for effective production planning. Indian Railways will plan to place the rakes as per actual coal available at siding and stock available at power stations.

Besides, power stations can plan future schedules by knowing rakes in the pipeline and expected time to reach. It will also provide information about the coal stock at the power generating station.

The ministries of power and coal, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and Power System Operation Corporation Ltd can review the overall availability of coal at thermal power plants in different regions.

The current mechanism to review the coal supply situation consists of an inter-ministerial group which has officials from ministries of power and coal, Indian Railways, CEA, power utilities and coal companies.

This inter-ministerial group holds weekly meetings to review the coal supply situation as well as railway logistics.

It was observed that this mechanism faced several issues, such as scattered information, which often led to difficulties in decision making.

To address such situations, the Ministry of Power asked the CEA to establish a transparent mechanism to monitor the coal availability at loading sites, placement of rakes by railways, and availability of coal at power stations, and also directed NTPC to facilitate the CEA for portal development.

The PRAKASH portal is developed by NTPC and sources data from different stakeholders such as the CEA, the Centre for Railway Information System and coal companies.

All reports are available in PDF and Excel format. However, to present information in a user-friendly method, the portal gives a graphical representation of reports with details shown on the map of India.

Currently, the portal will make available four reports -- Daily Power Plant Status, Periodic Power Plant Status, Plant Exception Report and Coal Dispatch Report.

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