In a recent development, paper mills in Uttar Pradesh, which have coal-based power generation plants, are facing an acute shortage of coal, after the coal ministry recently decided to prioritise the supply of coal for thermal power plants. The decision is likely to affect around 35 paper mills spread across Bijnor, Muzaffarnagar and Meerut. According to a newspaper report, these mills that clock close to Rs 10,000-crore annual turnover may have to shut down within the next two weeks.
Taking cognisance to the situation, the Indian Paper Manufacturer Association (IPMA) wrote to the secretary, ministry of coal, stating that for the last few days, Northern Coalfields (a subsidiary of Coal India) has stopped supplies of coal rakes to the non-regulated sector consumers and diverted the entire rail traffic to thermal power plants.
The letter added that these units are producing their own power to run the plants and the coal stock with most of these plants is at a very critical level. If the coal rakes of are not dispatched immediately, they will have to go on shutdowns, resulting in huge losses to them.
On an average, the capacity of a paper mill in UP is 250 tonnes of paper per day which requires one rake of coal in a month. One rake of coal comprises 58 railway wagons carrying anywhere between 5,700 to 4,000 tonnes of coal.