NEW DELHI: In a major development, Indian Railways has decided to cancel 657 trips of passenger trains to speed up the movement of coal rakes to power plants to avoid a looming power crisis.
The sizzling summer has driven the demand for coal, which is one of the key ingredients for the power industry. The country’s average temperature reached almost 33 degrees Celsius in March, the highest on record for the month since authorities started collecting the data in 1901.
“The Railways has decided to cancel 657 trips of the passenger trains,” a senior source in the Railway Ministry told The New Indian.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has expressed concern over the situation as he sought a quick resolution of the problem.
“There is a huge shortage of power in the country. So far we have managed it somehow in Delhi. The situation is very grave in the whole of India. Together we soon need to find a solution. Quick, concrete steps are required to tackle this problem,” Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal tweeted.
The Railways, meanwhile, has decided to cancel 509 trips of 18 express or mail trains while 148 trips of the 14 local passenger trains to ensure free passage to the goods trains carrying coal across the country without any disruption in its traffic.
The source also added that the railways cancelled 296 trips of mail and express trains in South East Central Railway, followed by 85 trips of mail and express trains in West Central Railways, 74 in East Coast Railways, 38 in South Central Railways and 16 in South Eastern Railways zones.
He further said that the Railways has cancelled 148 trips of the local passenger trains in the South East Central Railways zone.
The sources said that the cancelling of 657 trips is a temporary measure to ensure a proper supply of coal to the power plants from the mines located in far areas. The source said that the services of the mail, express or local passenger trains will resume once the coal storage in power plants normalises.
He further said that the measure to cancel the passenger trains is to ensure the time is reduced to supply coal to the power plants so that there is no shortage of coal in the plants.