States asked to expedite captive coal development

Written by Sanjay Jog | Mumbai | Updated: Nov 26 2009, 03:35am hrs
Even though the Centre has allocated 34 coal blocks with reserves of 11 billion tonne to state utilities, the ministries of power and coal have observed little progress in developing mines from coal blocks by 10 utilities. The power ministry has asked states to expedite the development of these captive coal blocks to match the commissioning of new thermal projects.

Power ministry sources told FE, The coal ministry has allocated coal blocks with geological reserves of nearly 26 billion tonne, sufficient to set up power plants totaling a capacity of about 1,40,000 mw, considering 70% mineable coal the 25-year lifespan of plants. Of this, 34 coal blocks with reserve of 11 billion tonne have been allocated to state utilities. Most of these utilities have formed and registered joint venture companies. However, in some cases, formation and registration is held up due to no receipt of approval of the respective state government. This issue was discussed at length during the meeting held between the power ministry and states on November 15.

Maharashtra State Mining Corporation and Tamil Nadu Electricity Board have formed a JV for the development of the Gare Palma II sector. The JV, however, has placed awards for exploring coal blocks. In the case of Chhatisgarh State Electricity Board, which has bagged the Parsa coal block, there has not been much progress according to the review meeting by the coal ministry in June. The prospective license The Tenughat Vidyut Nigam, which has received Rajbar block, has yet to receive a prospecting license.

The JV between the governments of Delhi and Haryana Power Generation Company has been allocated the Mara II Mahan block. However, the prospecting license application is still pending. In the case of the Anesttapalli, Punkula Chilka Penagaddppa block allotted to the Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Company (APGenco), it is spread over forest area and underground mines. However, APGenco, after a detailed exploration, has found that it was not viable and thus has surrendered the block to the coal ministry.

Moreover, a JV formed by the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board, the Assam Mineral Development Corporation, the Meghalaya Mineral Development Corporation and the Orissa Mining Corporation, have yet to award an exploration contract for the Mandakini B block. The Kerala State Electricity Board, the Orissa Hydro Power Corporation and the Gujarat Power Generation Corporation have formed a JV for the development of the Baitarani west block.

A JV by Jharkhand State Electricity Board and Bihar State Mineral Development Corporation developing the Urma Paharitola block has applied for prospecting license. However, in the case of Jharkhand State Electricity Board, the prospecting license for Banhardih block is pending with the state government.