The Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (Mahagenco), the largest power generator in the State, is considering buying half a million tonnes of thermal coal through ‘spot contract', said Mr Subrat Ratho, Maharashtra's Energy Secretary and Managing Director of Mahagenco on Thursday.

Mr Ratho told Business Line that the tender for buying coal in the spot market have been floated. The spot contract will not only help in mitigating the acute coal shortage in the State but also serve as a buffer, if the foreign consignment of coal gets delayed beyond October 20, he said.

By October 20, Mahagenco is contracted to get about three million tonnes of foreign coal.

Mr Ratho said that the power situation in the State will improve over the next two days with the State getting 11,484 tonnes or about three railways rakes of additional coal from Orissa. In another eight days, about 30,624 tonnes of coal would be made available to Mahagenco from the coal washeries. “Earlier, the coal was rejected by our company on quality issues. Now they have been sorted out,” he said.

Due to the prolonged Telangana agitation and dip in coal supply from Mahanadi coal fields on account of flooding, Mahagenco's daily coal supply has dwindled to 38,280 tonnes, while the regular supply is 91,872 tonnes. Coal shortage has led to about 16 hours of power cut in rural Maharashtra.

The Chief Minister, Mr Prithviraj Chavan, while addressing the media after the Cabinet meeting in Wednesday had said that the coal shortage had not only hit Maharashtra but also Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. “It has become a national calamity,” he said.

All efforts are being made to procure coal and power from the Central pool. The government is ready to pay higher price for procuring power from independent power producers and spot market, Mr Chavan said.