As Punjab is already short of coal for its power utilities, the Supreme Court's order of cancelling 214 blocks has come as a major blow to the state as the only mine allotted to it has been cancelled.
The mine caters to 60% of coal to three government-owned power plants.
The Panchwara Coal Mine, Jharkhand, was allotted to Punjab in 2002 and the coal production was started in 2006. The cancellation of the coal mine will also come as a jolt to Punjab's dream of becoming power surplus.
Besides, the Punjab government has to pay Rs 1,200 crore to the government as the Supreme Court imposed Rs 295 per metric tonne fee on it for using coal from the cancelled mines.
Punjab so far has dug out four crore tonnes of coal from the mine. Panem, a private company, has been operating the mine for Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL).
Three government-owned power plants -- Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant, Bathinda (440 MW), Sri Hargobind Thermal Plant, Lehbra Mohabbat (920 MW) and Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant, Ropar (1,260 MW) depend on coal from this mine.
Every year, Punjab needs 13.6 million tonnes of coal for operating its thermal plants, and from this 7 million tonnes of coal was coming from the captive coal mine of Punjab. The remaining coal comes from Coal India Limited.
The decision has also put the future of 540 MW GVK, Goindwal Sahib power plant in jeopardy as the apex court decision has also cancelled the captive coal mine allotted to GVK. The GVK plant is ready since 2011 but is not operational due to non-availability of coal.
Reacting to the decision, PSPCL chief managing director KD Chaudhari said, "Though I have not studied the judgment, it's a setback to government power utilities in Punjab as our only mine has been cancelled. I will brief the Punjab government on the issue. The PSPCL, through the Punjab government, will take up the matter with the Centre to ensure coal supply to its thermal plants."
He said there was no need to panic as the Supreme Court had granted permission for operation of the coal mine for the next six months and by then the Punjab government would find a solution by meeting the Centre.
Plants to be affected
Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant, Bathinda
Sri Hargobind Thermal Plant, Lehra Mohabbat
Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Plant, Ropar
GVK Goindwal Sahib Thermal Power Plant