Coal supplier Panem Coal Mines Ltd on Thursday said it had restored coal supply to three thermal power plants of the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), giving the much needed relief to PSPCL facing demand and supply gap of power.
“The PSPCL has assured us that they will consider (our demands)... (coal) despatches have been started (to PSPCL),” a senior Panem official said.
For uninter rupted supply of coal, the coal supplier was demanding price revision, clearance of outstanding dues, advance payment against railway freight and Rs. 100 per tonne advance for coal supply from the captive mine at Pachwara in Pakur district in Jharkhand.
Panem attributed the discontinuation of coal supplies to “financial constraints” faced by the project.
“...because of financial constraints, the (coal) despatches were discontinued. A hug e amount of freight is to be paid. For a particular (coal) rake, it takes Rs. 1 crore and that has to be paid in advance to the railways.
We shall have to pay and then PSPCL reimburses the payment (to us). Moreover, because of other reasons, the project is located in an isolated area. All these things caused financial problems,” he said.
“...(coal purchase) agreement was signed a long time back. (since then) a lot of escalation of price (has taken place). Then transportation cost. Foreign exchange has become so costly,” he said. Coal supplies were suspended to the PSPCL’s three thermal power plants at Ropar, Bathinda and Lehra Mohabbat on April 11 by Panem, an official of PSPCL said.
Panem supplies 7 million tonnes of coal to PSPCL’s thermal units, which accounts for 60% of the power utility’s requirements.
Noting that the financial situation of the project was “very bad”, he, however, said the PSPCL had assured to sympathetically look into this whole issue to resolve it at the earliest.
“Problems have been realised by the PSPCL. They are showing positive outlook,” the official said, while seeking anonymity. The PSPCL, for merly known as the PSEB, had entered into a deal with Easter n Minerals & Trading Agency (EMTA) to form a JV Panem Coal Mines for development and operation of a coal mine in 2001.