Goa government has as good as lost the coal block allotted to it in Gera Pelma, sector III of Raigarh district in Chhattisgarh.
The first blow to Goa government’s 4-year efforts to get the coal block commissioned was suffered in September 2014 when Supreme Court cancelled all but four of 218 coal blocks allotted by the government over the past two decades.
In March, the Gera Pelma III coal was given to Chattisgarh state power generation when Central government allotted 38 coal mines to central and state public sector units.
A government official said this means their four years of work of getting crucial clearances most importantly, forest and environment clearances from ministry of environment and forest (MOEF), has gone down the drain.
The Goa government was planning to start coal mining in 2015 and was on the verge of completing the process for starting coal mining.
“It was a just a matter of obtaining mining license from the Chhattisgarh government. We had all clearances in order but all our efforts have been wasted,” he added. The Goa government’s ambitious investment policy 2014 which aims to attract big industries had pinned hope on the coal block which was estimated to facilitate generation of 1000 megawatt power.
The government will have to make alternate arrangements to meet the shortfall of power which it was earlier planning to source from power plant, a government official said. He said they tried their best to get the same block for Goa IDC and went to the high court challenging the ordinance issued that required applicants to have 30% of the total project cost to have invested on the date of application. The condition was later repealed, and second ordinance was issued.
While on direction of the high court, Goa IDC was considered eligible to apply, it still did not get Gera Pelma III coal block.