Anil Ambani-led Reliance Power on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that it is not able to meet its coal requirement from other blocks at its Sasan Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP), and wants to increase its mining capacity from 16 to 19 million tonne (MT).
Assuring a bench headed by chief justice G Rohini that there would be no diversion of coal if additional mining was permitted, senior counsel P Chidambaram, appearing for RPower said: “We wish to raise our mining capacity from 16 tonne to 19 million tonne.”
The bench has posted the matter for further hearing on February 10.
The court was hearing Reliance Power’s plea challenging the government’s May decision that cancelled the allocation of the Chhatrasal coal block to its subsidiary Sasan Power. The block was allocated for the UMPP.
The ministry, through a notification on May 7, cancelled the allocation and also withdrew the permission for supplying surplus coal of up to 9 MT per annum from Moher, Moher-Amlohri Extension and Chhatrasal coal mines to the thermal power plant owned by Chitrangi Power, belonging to the same group.
Prior to the bid submission for the Sasan UMPP, three coal blocks — Moher, Moher-Amlohri Extension and Chhatrasal — having a reserve of 700-800 MT were allocated to Sasan Power, which was then a wholly-owned subsidiary of Power Finance Corporation (PFC).
Though the government notification for de-allocation mentions that it relied on the Supreme Court’s judgment on cancellation of coal blocks, the company argued the blocks allocated to UMPPs were not the subject matter of the apex court order. The apex court rather specifically stated the allotments made to the UMPPs were not being disturbed, the company stated in its petition.
However, the coal ministry had earlier in November argued before the HC that the ADAG firm had on several occasions represented that its Sasan unit required only 16 MT per annum (MTPA) of coal which could be easily met by the Moher and Moher-Amlohri Extension coal blocks in Madhya Pradesh.
The coal ministry also said that since the two blocks could meet the requirements of the project, the third block — Chhatrasal — was deallocated.
After Reliance Power emerged as the successful bidder, it wanted to use the surplus coal from Chhatrasal for its other projects, which could not be allowed as the Supreme Court had directed that coal blocks allocated for UMPPs would be used for UMPPs only, and no diversion of coal for commercial exploitation would be permitted, the government had stated.
The Sasan project is an integrated power plant-cum-coal mining project at a single location, involving an investment of over Rs 27,000 crore, the company has said.