Concerned over the unavailability of a suitable coal block for the 2400 Mw coal based plant proposed by Odisha Thermal Power Corporation Ltd (OTPCL), the state government has reiterated its demand for allocation of Chhendipada and Chhendipada II coal blocks in favour of the PSU. After raising the demand at the forum of state power ministers’ meeting in April, state energy minister, Pranab Prakash Das has written to the coal ministry, reiterating the demand for allocation of the coal blocks.
“We have asked for Chhendipada and Chhendipada II coal blocks that will be suitable for OTPCL’s pit head power plant. Though OTPCL has been awarded the Tentuloi coal block, it is not suitable for operations being an underground block. We are ready to surrender this allocated coal block”, said a government official in the know of the matter.
Being an underground coal reserve, Tentuloi block is very difficult to mine. Most of the reserve is below 900 metre depth. Even with the use of best technologies, only two million tonne of coal can be extracted from this mine annually while OTPCL’s requirement for the power project is 16 million tonne per annum (mtpa).
The state government argued that so far only two coal blocks (Manoharpur and dip side of Manoharpur) have been allocated to a state PSU- Odisha Power Generation Corporation (OPGC). This is in contrast to the West Bengal government owned generation utility that has won seven coal blocks under the PSU dispensation route. The state government justified the allocation demand stating that OTPCL was a 100 per cent government owned company being a 50:50 joint venture between Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) and Odisha Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC).
The Ministry of Coal is understood to have decided that no more coal blocks will be offered to PSUs via the nomination route.
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