Energy-hungry India cuts off passenger rail services for coal transportation

India has increased coal production and suspended passenger trains to use the railways for transportation, officials said, as the government scrambles to weather the country’s worst energy crisis in years.

The federal coal ministry said state-owned Coal India, responsible for 80% of India’s coal production, increased its production by 27.2% in April.

The government added that the Indian railways operated by the federal government canceled the flights of 753 passenger trains.

Reuters reported Wednesday that India has urged its states to increase coal imports for the next three years to increase inventories and meet demand, highlighting the severity of the crisis.

Coal stocks are at their lowest levels before the summer in at least 9 years. And the authorities are recording the increase in electricity demand at the fastest pace in the past four decades.

The government added that it “has decided to cancel passenger trains to give priority to the movement of coal trains in across the country to address the shortage of vital products in thermoelectric power plants “.

The government did not say when the suspension of passenger trains would end, nor how the passengers would behave in their absence.

Coal accounts for 75% of India’s energy production and power plants consume more than 3 quarters of the more than 1 billion tons of coal used each year.

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