The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has raised serious objections for allocation of three coal blocks namely, Moher, Moher-Amlohri Extension and Chhtrasal to Reliance’s Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) and sought a special agency to investigate the matter and initiate penal action against all if found flouting norms.
The committee further recommended “utilisation of the surplus coal/coal block from Sasan UMPP for sovereign national interest in consonance with the avowed objectives of passing on the benefit of cheaper coal to consumers”.
In September 2006, two coal blocks-Moher and Moher Amlohri Extension were allocated for Sasan UMPP on the estimation that the project would require the development of a coal mine with production of 18-20 million tonne per annum.
In October 2006, the Coal Ministry allocated another block Chhatrasal to Sasan after de-allocating it from NTPC Limited.
Later it was discovered that actual coal requirement of Sasan was only 16 million tonnes that was easily met by earlier allocated two coal block that yielded 20 million tonnes. In addition, 5 million tonne was extractable from Chhatrasal block, hence leaving a total surplus of 9 million tonne.
It was also noted that, Kerandari B & C coal blocks for Tilaiya UMPP, which recently Reliance Power withdrew, were also allocated with the same conditions for usage of surplus coal as applicable to Sasan UMPP.
However, according to the committee’s recommendations a suitable monitoring mechanism with mandated responsibility centres should also be introduced to enforce the conditions stipulated by the proposed new policy.