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PSPCL to issue fresh tender for Jharkhand coal mine operation

Failure to operate Pachwara coal mine costing power corp Rs 300 crore annually since 2014

punjab Updated: Jul 18, 2017 13:11 IST
Vishal Rambani
Vishal Rambani
Hindustan Times, Patiala
PSPCL,Jharkhand coal mines,pachwara coal mines
Representative Image

It took the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) almost a year and a half to take a decision to issue a fresh tender for operation of its dedicated coal mine in Jharkhand.

The indecisiveness of the management, which led to non-operation of Pachwara coal mine, has cost dearly with a loss of Rs 300 crore annually, which PSPCL spent on purchasing coal from other sources to run its coal-fired thermal power plants.

The Union coal ministry had reallocated the Pachwara coalmine in Jharkhand to PSPCL in April 2015, but it has failed to make it operational so far. The mine has been shut since March 31, 2015, as the corporation has failed to select a new operator.

The PSPCL tender to hire the new operator had hit a legal hurdle as four of the five bidders who failed to qualify the tendering process moved the court.

Though the legal adviser of the PSPCL advised its management to scrap the tender and issue a fresh tender to end all legal hitches, the top bosses of PSPCL failed to reach on any conclusion for the past one and a half years.

After taking over as chairman-cum-managing director (CMD) of the corporation, A Venu Prasad moved the related file to the Punjab advocate general for his legal opinion After getting the latter’s nod, the PSPCL board of directors, in its recent meeting, decided to scrap the previous tender.

“The advocate general has been asked to inform the high court that the PSPCL has decided to end the previous tendering process, and will issue a fresh tender,” said Venu Prasad.

He said the fresh tendering process has been started to hire a contractor to operate the coal mine, which will reduce the cost of power generation.

To further benefit the PSPCL, the management has decided to opt for reverse bidding to increase competition among coal mine operators.

PSPCL’S COAL-FIRED POWER PLANTS

The state-owned PSPCL has three coal-fired power generating units — Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant, Lehra Mohabbat; Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant, Bathinda; and Guru Gobind Singh Super Thermal Power Plant, Rupnagar — with a combined power generation capacity of 2,640 MW.

The three plants are getting about 7 million tonnes of coal from the Panem coalmines, also in Jharkhand, against the annual requirement of 13.6 million tonnes. The rest is supplied by Coal India Limited.

When Pachwara mine will come into operation, the coal cost will reduce the power generation cost, benefiting PSPCL Rs 300 crore annually, which will ultimately benefit the consumers.

First Published: Jul 17, 2017 18:46 IST