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Coal-starved HPGCL wants own captive mine

india Updated: Jun 02, 2013 23:35 IST
Navneet Sharma
Navneet Sharma
Hindustan Times

Troubled by perpetual shortage and poor quality of coal, the Haryana government is trying for its own captive coal block to meet the coal requirement of its power plants in the state.

The state-owned Haryana Power Generation Corporation Limited (HPGCL) has submitted multiple applications to the union coal ministry for allotment of coal block in Chhattisgarh or Madhya Pradesh for the existing and future thermal plants in the state. It has submitted three applications by the corporation for Gandbahera Ujheni, Banai and Bhalumuda Mand coal blocks in the two states to meet the shortfall in coal linkage allocated to 1,200-megawatt Rajiv Gandhi Thermal Power Project (RGTPP) at Khedar in Hisar.

A separate application has been submitted by the Haryana Coal Company Limited for allocation of Kerwa coal block in Chhattisgarh for commercial mining. The coal company was incorporated with 100% shareholding of the state government in January 2013 for filing application for the coal block under the mining category. The centre had invited applications for allocation of 17 coal blocks – 14 for power sector and three for commercial mining – to the government companies and undertakings this year.

The inter-ministerial committee headed by the union coal secretary met on May 23 and finalised the criteria for short-listing the applications. “The committee will meet again shortly and one of our applications for allocation of coal block to meet the requirement of the Yamunanagar thermal power project has been shortlisted. If we get the coal block, it will give a big boost to our effort to increase power generation in the state,” Anurag Agarwal, managing director of HPGCL, told Hindustan Times. The corporation applied for four blocks after in-house analysis and on the basis of feedback received from its consultant, Deloitte.

Acute coal shortage

HPGCL’s power plants have been facing coal shortage with the approved linkages of coal being considerably less than their actual requirements. The shortfall is very high for RGTPP, Hisar. The power plant has a coal requirement of 85 lakh metric tonne, but has approved linkage for only 41 lakh MT, according to data submitted by the corporation to the power regulator. The coal ministry had initially granted coal linkage of 56 lakh MT per annum. However, it was later reduced by the centre to 41 lakh MT during the rationalisation of coal linkage for the plants commissioned after April 2009.

The infrastructural constraints and traffic congestion of Railway have added to their woes. Besides, there is shortage of 16% in the coal requirement of Panipat Thermal Power Station (units 1 to 8). “The excess requirement of coal is being met through extra supplies by paying additional cost as performance incentive to the coal companies, but the coal stock position always remains at critical level. While the plants need reserves for 15 days to be in a comfortable position, they are left with coal for just 2-3 days several times,” according to sources.

While the coal stock situation has been somewhat satisfactory in the past few weeks due to frequent backing down of some power plants for want of electricity demand, the corporation has entered into contracts for 20 lakh MT of imported coal during the current financial year to meet its coal requirements. Another difficulty is that the power plants, which get supplies from coalfields in Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh, have been losing thousands of tonnes of coal – losses are high as compared to other plants – in transit due to pilferage.

Coal block development delayed

To meet the coal deficit in Haryana and Delhi, the coal ministry had allocated Mara-II Mahan coal block jointly to the two states in August 2006. The coal block having a total area of 53 square kilometre with coal bearing area of 30 sq km is estimated to have reserves of about 9,500 million tonne. The two states formed a joint venture company, Yamuna Coal Company Private Limited (YCCPL), four years ago. However, the company did not get clearance from the union environment and forest ministry to conduct drilling for preparation of geological report.

“Though there has been some progress, the matter is still pending. The purpose of seeking allocation of mine has not been met. The corporation has, therefore, applied for allocation of its own coal block to meet its current and future fuel requirements,” an official said.