With the continuing coal crisis threatening the survival of the Captive Power Plants based in Odisha and the livelihood of lakhs of people engaged in small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) at stake, the Utkal Chamber of Commerce and Industry Limited (UCCI) has sought Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik’s intervention for normalizing the situation within the state and sustain industry operations.
“Despite the untiring efforts of the government to support the industry, the continuing coal shortage due to stoppage/curtailment of coal supplies and rakes has threatened the very survival of local industry with the risk of loss of lakhs of livelihood and closure of thousands of SME’s in the state”, UCCI President, Brahma Mishra wrote in a letter addressed to the CM.
Indicating the grim scenario across the power and manufacturing sector in the State, Mishra said, “The Captive Power Plants (CPP) based industries in Odisha are facing alarmingly depleted coal stocks of only 2-3 days as compared to the prescribed level of 15 days. Since August 2021, the CPPs are struggling to get uninterrupted coal supplies for continued operations and getting just 40-50% of required coal supplies with a backlog of over 1500 coal rakes as most of the available coal and rakes are being diverted away from CPPs”.
This has brought down the industry to a standstill and left with no time to devise any mitigation plan to continue stable operations. The operational Power Plants are forced to operate at reduced power generation with a huge risk of power plant closure, he cautioned, “this situation has brought the CPP based industries and MSMEs to a grinding halt and resulting in increased prices of finished products which will further burden the end consumers, the UCCI’s letter to the CM stated/
Odisha has a competitive advantage in terms of access to coal, and therefore attracts large industrial houses with a significant power required to set up operations in the state.
If that advantage is depleted by diverting Odisha’s coal to other states before fulfilling the requirements of its own industries, it will be difficult for the state to generate fresh investments in large and medium scale industries.
“The State’s booming manufacturing sector stares at a possible derailment if the present situation is not addressed immediately and may lead to the irrevocable collateral damage of the Aluminium industry. Further, this will add up to the loss of employment for over one million people, closure of ancillary industries and MSMEs, loss of revenue and state exchequer accounting to over Rs 15,000 crore, and Forex loss due to loss of exports, and further hurting the sentiments of global investors”, UCCI pointed out.
The entire demand of local industry may be met through State’s own coal production before supplying to other states. This shall spur the growth of opportunities in the State by creating millions of jobs and huge revenue and development of thousands of MSMEs within the state thus boosting the prosperity of the State and its people. This will also attract huge global investments for setting up large-scale industries in Odisha, UCCI chief Mishra recommended.