The National Capital Region may face a blackout as the coal reserves with the Delhi government were only for a-day-and-a-half, said Power Minister Satyendar Jain who has written to Union Power Minister R. K. Singh regarding the same.
In the letter, Jain informed the minister about the coal supply shortage to the NCR power plants — Dadri, Jhajjar and Badarpur.
“Since June 19, the coal stock is continuously declining and has reached approximate 90,000 MT on Wednesday, which is only one and a half days requirement,” Jain wrote adding that the “situation is extremely critical”.
The reason he gave for the shortage is the non-availability of transportation rakes with the railways.
Jain requested Singh to “intervene personally and take up the matter with the Railways for providing rakes on priority for transportation of coal to these power plants to avoid blackout in Delhi”.
While addressing the media on Wednesday, Jain said that ideally power plants should have a reserve coal stock for 15 days.
He also said that the power demand was high during this season.
Signs are being spruced up and prayers performed as shops in the Indian capital open their shutters after two months with the gradual easing of a stringent lockdown.
Markets were allowed to reopen recently after the government signaled economic activity must resume, even as the fight against the COVID -19 pandemic continues. Traffic is humming on once-deserted streets as buses and auto rickshaws have been given the go-ahead to operate.
However, people in the city of nearly 20 million — one of the worst-hit in the country — remain hesitant about venturing out as cases of coronavirus touched record highs in recent days.
Shop owners, hoping to slowly emerge from the economic pain imposed by a weekslong shutdown, have instituted new rules to cope with the pandemic.
“We’ve restricted it to three people at a time for browsing, and then we have new checks and measures in place where we first check the person’s temperature, we give them hand sanitizer and we have started giving everyone a pair of gloves as well,” said Rajni Malhotra, owner of Bahrisons Booksellers, a 65-year-old landmark in one of the city’s most iconic markets.
The city is only partially open — shopping malls, restaurants, schools and colleges still remain closed and offices can only have limited staff. Even in markets that have opened, only half the shops open every day to avoid crowding. Delhi accounts for about 10% of India’s infections.
“We have a twofold challenge — to reduce the transmission rate of the disease, and to increase public activity gradually,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an address to the country two weeks ago. “Coronavirus is going to be part of our lives for a long time. But we can’t let our lives revolve around it,” he said.
Shop owners even sanitize customers’ purchases to reassure people still wary of entering markets. Among those that sold some goods is a store that sells kitchen equipment — in Delhi, like much of the world, cooking and baking have been therapy for some of those confined indoors.
However, a sense of unease remains as once-buzzing markets see only a sprinkling of customers, who mostly visit shops selling groceries and other essentials.
“There is this feeling that complete your work fast and then return home,” said Aparajita Pant, a city resident who had come to buy food for her pets.
“Earlier one would like to linger around, there are so many interesting shops here but as of now, there is that cautious approach, at least in me,” she said.
That is not good news for some shop owners. Not a single person had walked into Leena Mehra’s shop selling handicrafts and silver jewelry during the first two days.
“It’s depressing. We have to open the shop, we don’t have any choice,” she said.
“We know it is difficult for us to sell this product to the consumer because right now the mindset of the people is not at all in this direction, but we will try,” she said.
The pandemic has left its mark on a city whose love for shopping and being well turned out made it a retailers’ paradise.
“One would take more efforts to get maybe a little better dressed, but now you come here, avoid jewelry, avoid wearing even a watch, I am not even wearing my earrings,” Pant said ruefully.
Even budget accessories and clothes being sold from small stalls tucked in the market’s narrow lanes have few takers. That is disappointing for low-income workers who say they desperately need to start earning again.
“Everybody needs money. If customers don’t come and this atmosphere persists, it will not be easy to face the problem created by this pandemic,” said a despondent Lucky Arya, as he helped set up a stall to sell summer clothes.
The wait for customers is also long for auto rickshaw drivers waiting on sidewalks.
A once-familiar sight as they skillfully negotiated their way through Delhi’s often chaotic traffic, they too have been scarred by the pandemic because of new rules allowing only one passenger instead of the customary two to ensure social distancing.
In a major reform, Finance News suggests that the Union government has decided to permit commercial mining of coal.
Speaking to the media here on Saturday, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said to introduce competition, transparency and the private sector participation in the coal sector, the government would go for the revenue sharing mechanism instead of the fixed rupee or tonne mechanism.
Earlier, only captive consumers with end-to-end ownership could bid for the coal mines. Now any one can bid and sell the produce in the open market on commercial terms.
Stating that nearly 50 blocks will be offered immediately, Sitharaman said there would be no eligibility conditions apart from upfront payment with a ceiling.
Also, against the earlier provision of auction of fully explored coal blocks, now even partially explored blocks could be auctioned. Production, earlier than schedule, will be incentivised through rebate in the revenue share.
The government will also incentivise coal gasification or liquefaction through rebate in the revenue share. It would significantly lower environment impact and also help India switch to a gas-based economy, she added.
The Rs 50,000 crore infrastructure development will be carried out for it. This will help Coal India (CIL) raise production from 600 million tonnes to 1 billion tonnes by 2023-24.
The announcements are part of the Rs 20 lakh crore economic package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday. (IANS)
On a cold afternoon in late November, Jan Gerrit Otterpohl eyes the chimneys of Berlin’s Heizkraftwerk Mitte, a state-of-the-art power plant that supplies the city with heat and electricity. It’s not the billowing steam he’s interested in, but the largely invisible carbon dioxide that the power station exhales as it burns natural gas.
Under European Union rules, the plant’s operator, Vattenfall, needs a permit for each ton of carbon dioxide it emits. Otterpohl’s job is to keep costs low by making sure the company buys only as many permits as necessary, at the current market price.
Economists say that carbon markets like the one Otterpohl uses can become a powerful tool in the fight against climate change, by giving emitters a financial incentive to reduce greenhouse gases. But despite making progress in other areas, governments have for years been unable to agree on the rules that would allow truly global trade in carbon permits to flourish.
Negotiators at a U.N. meeting in Madrid this month are aiming to finally tackle the issue, after last year agreeing on almost all other parts of the rulebook governing the 2015 Paris climate accord.
“There are reasons to be optimistic and to think that there could be some progress because of the political attention that it’s getting,” said Alex Hanafi, a lead counsel at the New York-based Environmental Defense Fund.
Many governments are struggling to make the emissions cuts necessary to meet the Paris accord’s goal of keeping global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) by the end of the century.
The hope is that putting a price on carbon will unlock billions of dollars in investments as countries and companies seek the most cost-effective way to cut emissions. By capping the number of permits in the market and reducing it steadily, the incentive to save on emissions would grow over time.
“There is tremendous potential for carbon markets to contribute to the achievement of the Paris agreement goals,” said Hanafi.
But he warned that a bad deal on carbon markets, known in climate diplomacy parlance as ‘Article 6,’ would be “worse than no deal at all.”
That would be the case, for example, if airlines find it cheaper to offset their emissions than reduce them; or if countries protect large areas of carbon-absorbing forests, sell the resulting permits to other nations and simultaneously count them toward their own emissions-reduction efforts.
Brazil has long pushed back against some of the stricter accounting rules demanded by the EU and the United States. The Latin American nation, criticized by environmentalists for failing to properly protect the Amazon rainforest, also insists that it should be allowed to keep vast amounts of carbon credits amassed under a now-discredited system, a stance shared by China and India.
“It’s very important to really avoid these kind of negative impacts,” said Claudia Kemfert, a senior energy expert at the German Institute for Economic Research.
Kemfert noted that it took more than a decade to tweak the emissions trading system that so far only covers the power and heavy industry sectors in 27 European Union countries— all, except Britain — plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein — a region with well-functioning markets and low levels of corruption.
Otterpohl, who oversees emissions at Vattenfall’s Berlin power plant, agreed.“As far as the EU (emissions trading system) is concerned, there’s now a mature and functioning market in the areas it covers.”
Expanding that market to cover other sectors in the EU, such as transportation and home heating, or linking it up with other existing emissions trading systems in China, California and elsewhere should be possible, said Daniel Wragge, the director of political and regulatory affairs at the European Energy Exchange in Leipzig, Germany.
“Technically speaking, it’s not a challenge,” said Wragge, whose company manages the marketplace for European emissions, where a ton of carbon dioxide is currently traded for about 25 euros ($27.70). “But, of course, there are certain conditions and the key is, of course, that the certificates are mutually recognized.”
Kemfert cautioned that putting a price on emissions alone won’t stop climate change.“What we need are many, many activities to reduce emissions,” she said. “If we reach a carbon market, that’s fine. But we should go for other solutions very urgently.” (VOA)