State-owned power generation company NTPC is creating a separate coal mining subsidiary, a senior company official told FE. Niti Aaayog, the government think tank, has already approved the proposal and put forward its submission to the coal ministry. The issue is awaiting the coal ministry’s approval, the official said, requesting anonymity.
The company has already started extracting coal from the Pakri Barwadih mine, and has set a production target of 6.3 million tonne from the block for FY19. Additionally, operation at the Dulanga mine has also started, which expects to produce 1.7 mt in the ongoing fiscal. Currently, NTPC is working on five captive blocks with a mining capacity of 56 mt per annum. The company has been allotted 10 blocks with potential to produce 111 mt of the fuel every year.
The company received 168.5 mt coal in FY18, which includes 0.32 mt of imports. Requirement for FY19 is estimated to be 196.3 mt. Under the government’s recent policy on flexible utilisation of coal, NTPC can use the fuel according to the requirement and efficiency levels of power plants, notwithstanding the plant-wise allocations earmarked earlier.
Coal supply to power plants have been a pressing issue on the back of rising power demand and inadequate railway rakes to tansport the fuel.
As on August 12, as many as eight power plants had coal to last them for less than four days. NTPC is building a conveyor belt in the upcoming 1,980 MW North Karanpura power plant to transport coal from the nearby pit, which would help in allocating about 10 railway rakes to other plants located far away from the coal mines.