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Centre supports coal import

At a time when the state government is harping on about inadequate supply of coal,the Central government has taken a different stand by supporting coal import and claiming that there are enough coal reserves in Bengal to meet its power generation needs.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | January 21, 2009 3:20:41 am

At a time when the state government is harping on about inadequate supply of coal,the Central government has taken a different stand by supporting coal import and claiming that there are enough coal reserves in Bengal to meet its power generation needs.

Speaking at the Energy East and North East Summit organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce and West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd on Tuesday,state Minister for Power and Non-Conventional Energy Sources Mrinal Banerjee urged the Centre to address the issue of shortage of coal,which the government fears may have adverse effect on the thermal power sector.

“Due to coal shortage,many power generation units are sometimes compelled to cease their operations. Despite the state’s additional generation capacity,we may face heavy loadshedding from February onwards,” said Banerjee. He added the country has 250 billion tonnes of coal reserves,but at present only 300 million tonnes are produced per annum.

Union Minister of State for Coal Santosh Bagrodia,however,questioned the state’s concerns about coal supply,saying that eastern India has 70 per cent of the country’s coal reserve. “The installed power generation capacity in the country is 146,903 MW,but the eastern region contributes only 14 per cent to it,” said Bagrodia. “Import of coal is not a viable option for Bengal as it increases the tariff. The Centre should treat the state on a different footing till new coal blocks are developed,” said Banerjee.

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