Breaking its silence, Coal India today rubbished NTPC’s claims on quality issues and described the power major’s decision to side step reconciliatory mechanism as “childish.”

The company, however, hoped that the differences be resolved “sooner than later.”

In a unilateral measure, NTPC deducted nearly Rs 2,000 crore coal dues in the last six months citing quality concerns. Of the total, approximately Rs 1,000 crore is payable to the sick, wholly-owned, Eastern Coalfields Ltd (ECL).

“For years, we were supplying coal from same sources to NTPC. There are provisions of joint sampling (at mine-end) and monthly reconciliation meetings. Let them take part in that and pay accordingly,” CIL Chairman S. Narsing Rao told mediapersons.

He was addressing a press conference in connection with the company’s production performance in the last fiscal.

Rao has also offered NTPC the choice of getting disputed samples tested from a third party. “We are not afraid of it. In fact, we will introduce the system as early as July-August,” he added.

No sampling at plant

He, however, refused to accept NTPC’s demand for sampling at plant end as a pre-condition for signing fresh supply pacts. “Our responsibility ends with loading the coal from mines. To offer coal on gross as received (GAR) basis, railways need to enter the agreement. Also, considering the general governance issues, who will take the responsibility of the loss in transit,” he said.

Interestingly, Rao claimed that the miner supplied nearly seven million tonne more coal - capable to generate nearly 7,000 MW - than promised, to NTPC in 2012-13.

ECL woes

Responding to developments on ECL he said, the miner had resumed coal supplies to NTPC plants from April 4 on condition of joint sampling. “NTPC officials are now taking part in the initiative but not signing papers. This is childish,” Rao added.

(This article was published on April 8, 2013)
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