After he extended support to Pranab Mukherjee as the presidential candidate,Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has managed to get the Centre to allocate coal linkage for its fuel-starved 500 MW Barauni thermal power plant.
He has also successfully bagged a hike of over 30 per cent for Bihars annual plan expenditure to Rs 28,000 crore for the current fiscal.
The coal ministry,acceding to Kumars demand,granted tapering linkage for the Barauni plant on July 20. The ministry had rejected Bihars demand for coal supply last month,saying that linkages for 80,000 MW have already been committed for the 12th Plan and there was no scope for any fresh linkage.
With the coal ministry expressing its inability to grant tapering linkage,Kumar had sought the Prime Ministers intervention through a letter on April 6. The chief minister had reportedly led a all-party delegation to Singh to press for fuel supply for Barauni plant. The Prime Ministers Office is understood to have asked the coal ministry to grant the linkage.
We agree that Bihar needs coal supply to fire its thermal power plants and have accordingly accorded in principle approval to provide tapering linkage to it. But the state has been advised to develop its portion of the Urma Paharitola coal block expeditiously and ensure perennial supply of the fuel, coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal said.
The block,allocated jointly to Jharkhand State Electricity Board and Bihar State Mineral Development Corporation in 2007 has remained largely unexplored.
In tapering linkage,granted for only three years,the proportion of fuel supply decreases progressively,the reason why Bihar has been asked to develop the block,said an official.