SECL mines shutdown to cost India 11k mw

Written by Sanjay Jog | Mumbai | Updated: Feb 27 2009, 04:26am hrs
Evenwhen the peaking shortfall is reported at minus 11.3%, the country is expected to have a generation loss of 11,000 mw from March onwards as the South Eastern Coalfields Ltd (SECL), an arm of Coal India plans to close down Gevra and Dipka mines following serious objections raised by the Chhatisgarh Environment Conservation Board.

These two mines have an annual coal production capacity of 60 million tonne. Of the 11,000 mw, as high as 3,100 mw capacity is of NTPC situated in Korba and Sipat.

The closure of mines will further add fuel to the fire as for 2009-10 as against the estimated coal demand of 373 million tonne for power utilities, the domestic supply pegged by the Planning Commission is 336.69 million tonne, where the 36.31 million tonne gap is expected to be met through imports. Besides, several power utilities are expected to miss the coal import target of 20 million tonne in 2008-09 as they were unable to propeerly tide up the coal supplies.

Power ministry sources told FE on Wednesday The closure of mines will seriously affect the power generation of several utilities including that of NTPC when the summer will set in and also the campaigning for the ensuing elections will start gathering a momentum. The closure of mines will also adveresely impact grid security.

The ministry will soon take up the matter with the ministries of coal, environment and forests, the Chhatisgarh government and the Coal India so that mine closure can be averted. Sources admitted that NTPC chairman and managing director RS Sharma has already sought the power ministrys intervention in this regard. Sources said that the SECL has taken a decision to close down these mines as the Chhatisgarh Environment Conservation Board has observed that the former has failed to maintain certain parameters with regard to environment conservation and pollution control.

NTPC and several utilities have argued that this issue can be addressed by directing the SECL to adhere to strict norms and not be the closure of mines.

In year 2007-08,total coal production by SECL was 93.79 million tonne from open cast and underground mines which is highest among all subsidiaries of Coal India Ltd and among all coal producing companies in India.

In the year 2007-08 out of total coal production of 379.49 million tonnes produced by Coal India Ltd, total coal production by SECL was 93.79 million tonne.