Bhubaneswar: Odisha Government on Wednesday stated in the Assembly that, erratic rainfall and coal scarcity are the main reasons behind the acute power shortage faced by the State, even as opposition Congress walked out of the Assembly protesting the remarks of Energy Minister and frequent power cut in the State.

On this issue, Energy Minister Mr. Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak said, “scarcity of coal, supply of low quality coal to thermal power producers and erratic rainfall led to low generation of both hydro and thermal electricity.”

“Though the State used to get 60 per cent of its electricity requirement from hydel projects, this time it drastically fell due to low reservoir level in Indravati, Upper Kolab and Balimela hydro-power stations,” Mr. Nayak said.

Adding more Mr. Nayak said, while the State used to generate 800 MW to 1,200 MW of electricity during winter season, this time it was only 200 MW to 300 MW.

Thee State’s average power requirement was 2700 MW and 3300 MW during peak hours But the State’s power availability is only 2340 MW to 2400 MW, leading to a shortage of about 300 MW to 400 MW of power in the State.

Apart from this, the hike in the price of coal by Mahanadi Coalfield Limited (MCL) by 45 per cent in a span of two-years had also added more to the crisis. Moreover as MCL increased the coal price, different Captive Power Plants (CPP) were not interested to generate more power.

Opposition leader, Bhupinder Singh of Congress, however, blamed State GHovernment’s inability to handle the situation. “You can’t go for power cut in the State which was power surplus some years ago,” Singh said.