Odisha demands Chhendipada coal blocks for thermal plants

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The State government has demanded Chhendipada and Chhendipada-II coal blocks for Odisha Thermal Power Corporation Limited’s (OPTCL) three upcoming power plants with 800 MW capacity in Dhenkanal district.

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The issue was raised by Odisha’s energy minister Pranab Prakash Das while attending the two-day power ministers’ conference held at South Goa on June 16 and 17.

Stating that the OPTCL in 2013 was allocated underground Tentuloi Coal Block situated in Talcher Coalfields in Dhenkanal district, Das said, “Given the available resource at a depth, this block is not technically and economically viable for open cast mining. Hence, the coal block was surrendered by OPTCL.”Das raised the issue of the Centre reducing its share in new schemes like DDUGJY and IPDS, which have replaced RGGVY and R-ARDRO schemes respectively, putting financial burden on the state.

The Centre has reduced the share from 90:10 to 60:40,the minister said.

He said by curtailing fund allocation against detailedproject reports of the state by Rs 2,417.27 crore, the scopetowards ‘system strengthening and connecting the un-connectedhouseholds’ has diminished.

Das asked the curtailment of fund allocation shouldnot be acted upon against the DPR for the state for betterimplementation of these schemes.

The Clean Environment Cess has been increased to Rs400 per Metric Tonne (MT) of coal from the existing Rs 200 perMT in the Union Budget for FY 2016-17 resulting in collectionof about Rs 6,400 crore from Odisha in order to promoterenewable energy development in other states without anycommensurate benefit to Odisha, he said.

“Odisha being a host state has to bear the costinvolved in dealing with negative externalities such asenvironmental degradation, land degradation, loss of flora andfauna and health hazards to people in the surrounding areas ofmines,” Das said.

The minister said the Clean Environment Cess should beat least 60 per cent of the proceeds should be shared with thestate government to deal with negative externalities.

“This will ensure sharing of cost and benefits bystates in an equitable manner,” he said.

The minister said allocating high-cost thermal powerto Odisha, which is already surplus in power generation, mayunnecessarily put burden on the poor consumers of the state bypaying huge fixed cost even without availing power.

Odisha has already requested the Union Power Ministryto de-allocate the state’s share from all upcoming NTPCstations, located outside the state except North Karanpura, infavour of other power deficit states, he added.

PTI

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