Coal block allotment leading to inequitable sharing: Orissahttps://indianexpress.com/article/business/commodities/coal-block-allotment-leading-to-inequitable-sharing-orissa/

Coal block allotment leading to inequitable sharing: Orissa

Though the state was eyeing the Naini coal block it was given to Telangana government two days ago.

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In 2004, the PM agreed with his coal secretary, Parakh, that all applications for allotment coming after June 28, 2004 should be dealt with only through auctions.

Upset over one of its power PSUs not being allocated a coal block in the latest round of allotments, Orissa has said the auctions and allotment of mines is leading to inequitable sharing of cost and benefits from the mining and power generation with little benefit to it.

Though the state was eyeing the Naini coal block, one of the 43 coal blocks allocated for PSUs, it was given to Singareni Collieries Company Limited of Telangana government two days ago.

Orissa had formed a new power PSU called Orissa Thermal Power Corporation in Dhenkanal to establish a 3X800 megawatt and 1X800 megawatt coal-fired plant and was eyeing Naini coal block in Angul district with a proven reserve of 500 million tonnes of coal.

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OTPC, a 50:50 joint venture between Orissa Mining Corporation and Orissa Hydro Power Corporation, has already applied for Chhendipada and Chhendipada-II under government dispensing route. It has not been possible to incur 30 per cent per expenditure due to guidelines issues by Centre advising the government project authorities not to incur any expenditure for the project work without obtaining environmental clearance.

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The project has so far acquired 60 per cent of the private land necessary and payment of balance 40 per cent is in progress. Alienation of 671 acre of government land and 8.7 acre of forest land is in progress. All statutory clearances have been obtained except environment clearance due to non-availability of cal block. So far an expenditure of Rs 216 crore have been incurred.

In a letter to Union coal secretary Anil Swarup on Thursday, Orissa energy secretary Suresh Mohapatra said despite Orissa having nearly 27 per cent of coal reserves, much of the coal is getting transported out of the state and a major part of power to be generated from these plants would also be sold out of the state.