State-run power producer NTPC and Coal India (CIL) have agreed to begin third party sampling of coal from the state-run miners collieries from Thursday.
NTPC would begin settling its outstandings with CIL once the results establish uniformity in the quality of coal.
Both companies had issues over the payment for coal supplies from Eastern Coalfields (ECL) to NTPCs plants at Kahalgaon and Farakka.
While CIL accused NTPC of withholding payments of around Rs 1,000 crore,the power producer had said it would only pay for the quality of coal it got.
NTPC has said that ECL supplied coal mixed with boulders,stones and even dirt. The resolution to this issue came in the course of a meeting convened by coal secretary Sanjay Kumar Srivastava with CIL chairman S Narsing Rao and NTPC CMD Arup Roy Choudhury on Wednesday.
In course of the meeting,Roy Choudhury suggested third party sampling of coal produced from ECL in particular and all state-run collieries in general beginning Thursday,to which Rao promptly agreed. The NTPC chief was told that ECL has procured a bomb calorimeter and there is no hurdle to commence sampling. He also agreed that if the sampling results for the next 10-15 days reveals uniformity in the desired quality of coal,then NTPC would have no issue in releasing the outstanding money in a phased manner, a top coal ministry official told The Indian Express.
Over the past week,ECL had cut down supplies to the two NTPC plants and coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal had to intervene in order to settle the issue.
The resolution to the issue on Wednesday removes the possibility of jeopardising around 5,000 MW of electricity production from NTPCs Kahalgaon and Farakka plants and trigger blackouts in parts of Bihar,Jharkhand and West Bengal,were CIL to stopped coal supplies.
Although there is no legal remedy provided by the fuel supply agreements as executed in 2009 on appealing on such matters,but NTPC has sought a technical explanation from CIL for the poor quality coal received.