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Passenger Trains Cancelled For Movement Of Coal Amid India's Power shortage

Passenger Trains Cancelled For Movement Of Coal Amid India's Power shortage

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India has cancelled some 42  passenger trains to allow for faster movement of coal carriages as the nation scrambles to replenish depleting inventories at power plants in a bid to avoid a full-blown power crisis.

 

These trains have been cancelled indefinitely, Railways officials said today, with coal stocks depleting rapidly in thermal power plants. The Railways is trying to take steps "at war-footing" to transport coal and also cut down the time it takes to move coal to power plants, officials said.

The hot weather is pushing up demand for coal, which accounts for around 70% of the country's generating electricity. Several sections of India are experiencing long blackouts, and several sectors are reducing output owing to a scarcity of fossil fuels, posing a danger to the economy's recovery from the pandemic's impact. At a time when the government is attempting to control high energy costs fuelled by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the possibility of more inflation is mounting.

The measure is temporary and passenger services will be restored as soon as the situation normalizes, said Gaurav Krishna Bansal, an executive director at Indian Railways, one of Asia's largest networks. The state-run operator is trying to minimize the time it takes to move coal to power plants, he said by phone.

Indian Railways is often  accused for coal supply problems, since a scarcity of carriages makes transporting the fuel over long distances problematic. Congested lines, where passenger and freight trains compete for space, can cause shipments to be delayed. Despite this, the carrier remains the favoured method of transporting coal, particularly for consumers who are located distant from mines.