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Hit by coal shortage, NTPC advances maintenance work at Bihar plant to save reserved stock 

The NTPC Kahalgaon plant in Bihar is experiencing coal short supply of 7,000 metric tonnes (approx) per day. The shutdown is likely to help the plant save 5000 metric tonnes of coal per day.

patna Updated: May 26, 2017 18:09 IST
Avijit Biswas 
Avijit Biswas 
Avijit Biswas, Bhagalpur
NTPC,Kahalgaon plant,Farakka plant
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) men rescue trapped workers after mines subsidence near Lalmatia in Jharkhand in December 2016. Coal supply to NTPC’s Kahalgaon plant from Lalmatia has remained affected since the mishap. (HT file photo.)

Facing serious coal shortage, public sector undertaking National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) will onSaturday (May 27) shut down one of its 210 MW units at its 2,340 MW Kahalgaon plant, in eastern Bihar’s Bhagalpur district for annual maintenance, five days ahead of its scheduled maintenance from June 1.

The 35-day shutdown would help the plant save 5000 metric tonnes per day, said an NTPC official at the Kahalgaon plant, 274 km east of Patna. The plant is experiencing coal shortage of ,7,000 metric tonnes (approx) per day (what is the average daily consumption of coal). The shortage was now being met from reserve stock of coal, the official added.

The annual maintenance had been advance to prevent depletion of the coal reserve and create a buffer stock of coal, he said, adding that the shutdown would affect vailability of power.

With coal availability likely to decline further during the upcoming rainy season, building coal stock was a major challenge for the plant management, he added.

READ| Jharkhand coal mine collapse: Eleven workers killed, over 50 trapped

NTPC Kahalgaon plant group general manager (GGM) Rakesh Samuel attributed the short supply of coal to subsidence at Jharkhand’s Lalmatia mines of Eastern Coalfields Limited last December. He said the plant received its major supply of coal from Lalmatia mines, in Godda district of Jharkhand, where the production had been adversely affected after subsidence.

READ| Lalmatia mine collapse in Jharkhand: Panel to submit report in a month

Samuel said against an average daily supply of 11 rail rakes of coal from Lalmatia, the plant was receiving a daily supply of nine rakes. In addition to supply from Lalmatia, the plant was receiving two railway rakes of coal from Raniganj coalfields in West Bengal, he added.

He said railway authorities had been approached for increasing coal supply to the plant from Raniganj coalfields through rail route. But the congestion on Sahebganj-Pakur-Sainthia rail route, connecting the Kahalgaon plant with Raniganj, was posing a problem, Samuel added.

He said the reserved coal stock of 1.40 lakh metric tonnes at the plant was enough to meet the deficit for a little over two weeks. However, it was mandatory to maintain a coal reserve of 90,000 metric tonnes , he added.

READ| Power generation down in NTPC plants due to coal shortage

Meanwhile, the short supply of coal to Kahalgaon plant from Lalmatia could persist for long. The Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL) is yet to start mining in nearly 15 acres of land acquired by it at Bhadotola village of Godda district in the absence of physical possession.

The daily coal production has almost reduced to half in Lamatia area and further shortfall could increase problem for NTPC’s Kahalgaon and Farraka (West Bengal) plants, ECL sources said.

SK Singh, general manager (in-charge) of ECL’s Rajmahal area, said compared to an average daily production of 50,000 to 55,000 metric tonnes of coal, the average output at present was around 23,000 to 25,000 metric tonnes.

However, the drop in production had nothing to do with last year’s mines accident, Singh said, adding that the coal reserve in area, where mining was being undertaken, had started depleting.

He said mining in the newly acquired area was required to increase coal production.

First Published: May 26, 2017 16:09 IST