According to an official, the coal production at the mines of Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL), Bharat Coking Coal Ltd (BCCL) and Central Coalfields Ltd (CCL) is likely to improve  only post the festive season.

"The festive season in the eastern part of the country is mainly a lean period, when these companies -- ECL, BCCL, and CCL -- are short-staffed," the official said, adding that the stock situation at the mines is likely to come under control from mid-October onwards.

Land acquisition problems, delays in getting environment and forest clearances and bottlenecks in coal transportation through railways have time and again affected fuel stocks at thermal power stations.

According to latest Central Electricity Authority (CEA) data (September 14), 53 thermal plants have less than seven days of coal stocks at their disposal.

Of the 53 plants, 30 stations have less than four days of fuel available to them.

This situation, when compared to last month, has deteriorated. The number of power stations with less than a week's stock stood at 48, of which 24 had less than four days of coal, CEA data said.

In July, of the 100 coal-based power plants monitored by the CEA, 44 power plants had critical coal stock of less than seven days requirement. About 25 had coal stock of less than four days requirement.

CEA provides technical support base to the Ministry of Power.

The official said that the government has made available additional coal to tune of 50 million tonnes (MT) from the Tori-Shivpuri-Kathotia mines in North Karanpura, Jharkhand.

Also the railway line connecting the coal mines at Manendragarh, Chhattisgarh has improved which will help in the transportation of 20 MT fuel.

"All these measures put together the coal situation will improve by the middle of next month," the official added.

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